Without proper monitoring and medical care during labor and delivery, infants can suffer serious birth injuries.
Birth injuries are generally caused either by trauma during labor and delivery or due to problems that occurred over the course of the mother’s pregnancy. In minor cases, birth injuries may clear up on their own in a matter of days or weeks. In more serious situations, they can cause permanent scarring, require ongoing medical care, and can result in lasting disabilities or even death.
Common Birth Injuries That Could Impact Your Baby
Due to the strenuous and often unpredictable nature of labor and delivery, birth injuries are an unfortunately common occurrence. Stanford Children’s Health reports that they often occur with premature infants, with newborns who are over eight pounds when they are born, or anytime conditions combine to make labor and delivery long or difficult. The following are common types of birth injuries, of which all potential parents should be aware:
- Head injuries: These can range from relatively mild cases of head molding, scratches, or bruising to more severe skull fractures or hematomas and hemorrhages, which involve bleeding or pooling of blood just under the skin at the top of the infant’s head or below the scalp.
- Brain injuries: When too much pressure is placed on the newborn’s head during labor or delivery, it can result in intracranial hemorrhages, which is bleeding in and around the brain. In some cases, the use of forceps or other extraction methods can result in debilitating brain injuries.
- Muscle and nerve injuries: These can occur either during or immediately after birth and can impact facial nerves which control expression or those associated with breathing or spinal cord function, resulting in paralysis. Brachial plexus is a common injury impacting the shoulders and affecting movement in the infant’s arms and hands. Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy are forms of brachial plexus and can result in paralysis or a claw like shape in the affected limb.
- Bone injuries: Newborn bones are fragile and break easily. Roughly handling during labor and delivery can result in fractures in the arms, legs, or in multiple areas. Shoulder dystocia is a condition that can occur during delivery and may result in shoulder fractures that go undetected for days or even weeks. It is caused by the baby’s head and shoulders being trapped behind the pelvic bone of the mother.
- Perinatal asphyxia: This is a serious birth injury which restricts blood flow to various body parts and reduces the amount of oxygen the blood contains. It can occur due to problems with the placenta, obstruction of the umbilical cord, or due to maternal infections during pregnancy.
Getting Help if Your Baby Suffers Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are often the result of improper care or monitoring during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. When they happen, medical providers can be held liable for the costs you incur in caring for your child and for the suffering your family endures. Consult with an experienced birth injury attorney for help in filing a claim.