Three Reasons Birth Injuries Occur

Injury to a newborn that occurs before, amid, or immediately after the labor process is considered a birth injury. Symptoms of birth trauma can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months, can be severe and persist throughout the child’s life.

The type and extent of the trauma are determined by the circumstances and variables that lead to the birth injury. Birth injuries may be caused by various factors, including the mother’s and baby’s health, and external factors, such as medical negligence.

Impact of birth injury on a child’s life

Severe injury to your child’s neurological system during or after labor can have lasting consequences, including permanent disability. Birth injuries can also jeopardize the mother and her newborn child’s lives if not handled properly.

Often the condition is a direct consequence of medical malpractice. Therefore, many parents worry about their child’s future and expensive medical care expenditures because of birth injuries.

If your child has experienced a birth injury, you can hire legal aid for birth injury claims to help you get monetary compensation to support your child’s medical treatments.

How do they happen?

Dozen of unique medical issues can result in birth injuries. Any time throughout the birthing process, if the expecting person or the child suffers from any of these conditions, they suffer a greater risk of experiencing birth injuries.

Preventing birth injuries begins with recognizing and addressing the factors that put mothers and babies at risk during labor.

Let’s look at these contributing factors.

1. Maternal Conditions

A pregnant woman with a medical condition is at an increased risk of birth injuries if she does not get adequate pre and post-natal care and supervision. The following is a list of probable illnesses that can cause birth complications.

  • If the mother’s pelvis is atypical, the infant is at a higher risk of asphyxia due to writhing or struggling in the birth canal, which might lead to oxygen deprivation.
  • A condition known as dystocia can lead to problems for the baby as it leaves the birth canal. Improper fetal positioning or an unexpanded cervix are the likely causes.
  • Premature birth, macrosomia, and preeclampsia have all been associated with gestational diabetes in expecting mothers. An early pregnancy diagnosis can reduce the likelihood of birth complications and guarantee a smooth labor process

Gestational diabetes or placental anomalies can induce preeclampsia, characterized by high blood pressure and increased heart rate. It involves quickly developing severe hypertension in the mother, which is associated with oxygen deprivation and brain injury in the child. Because preeclampsia demands an early or quick delivery of the child, it increases the risk of birth injury.

Furthermore, there is a risk that the child may struggle or twist in a way that decreases their oxygen supply if the mother’s pelvic shape is not favorable to an easy delivery. Lastly, birth injuries are more likely to occur when labor is prolonged.

2. Infant Conditions

Babies weighing more than 8 pounds and 13 ounces are at a higher risk of birth injuries. Their weight can introduce complications in the labor process. It increases the risk of delivery abnormalities in newborns who are larger than the typical weight for their gestational age.

There is also a higher risk of birth injuries in preemies because their muscles and neurological systems are still underdeveloped at the time of delivery.

  • A birth injury is more likely among newborns delivered in aberrant fetal positions, such as a position with their head-last-feet first or in a breech posture.
  • Finally, labor-related physical trauma to the infant is a substantial risk factor for birth injuries.

3. Medical Negligence

Birth injuries can be life-threatening if they are sustained during the labor procedure. When a doctor uses birthing tools or vacuum extraction during delivery, the possibility of an injury becomes exponentially high. Medical negligence occurs when a doctor or nurse fails to meet the standard of care expected. It’s a risk factor for severe complications during labor and delivery.

Negligence in the maternity ward can happen before, during, or even after the child is born. It occurs when the attending doctor fails to adequately address the risk of birth injuries and fails to deliver the proper care.

Common examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Lack of quick action when faced with possibly fatal situations
  • Inability to identify noticeable health problems in either the mother or the baby
  • Overlooking the importance of post-natal care for the mother and child
  • Misuse of labor tools during labor, such as forceps or a vacuum extractor
  • Forced or hurried childbirth can cause mothers to experience internal injuries.

Common birth injuries include

Some of the most common types of birth injuries include:

1. Brachial palsy

Brachial palsy occurs in the arms/hands of the baby. Its caused by damage to a network of nerves known as the “brachial plexus,” which supplies blood and oxygen to these body parts. Shoulder dystocia, or difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder, is the most prevalent cause.

It can result in a loss of flexibility and rotation in the baby’s arm. Movement should recover after a few months if the accident causes bruising and inflammation around the nerves. It’s also possible that the nerve can suffer permanent damage due to the trauma. During the healing process, doctors recommend specific exercises to preserve the arm’s range of motion.

2. Bruising due to medical malpractice

The delivery canal and the baby’s contact with the mother’s pelvic bones and tissues can cause bruises on the face and skull in certain neonates. The baby’s face and head may be temporarily scarred or bruised by forceps used during delivery. Vacuum extraction might result in bruises or a cut on the scalp in newborns (laceration).

3. Facial paralysis.

During labor, a baby’s facial nerve can get damaged due to the compression force of the birth canal. It may also happen if the doctors use birthing tools to deliver the baby. The baby’s facial movements often reveal the injuries. On the side of the head where the damage occurred, there is no movement, and the eye cannot be closed. The paralysis typically subsides after a few weeks if the nerve just suffered a few bruises. However, your child may require surgery if the injury is severe.

4. Fractures.

The most common injury during labor is a collarbone fracture. There is a risk of clavicle fracturing during breech or shoulder delivery. When a baby’s clavicle is injured, the arm on the damaged side is hard to move. Healing, on the other hand, is a speedy process. As new bone grows, a solid bump on the clavicle is expected during the first ten days after surgery. Using a soft bandage or splint to prevent inadvertent movement of the arm/shoulder may be helpful if the fracture is painful.

5. Subconjunctival hemorrhage.

It refers to an eye injury caused by the rupture of tiny blood vessels. The eye’s white area in one or both eyes may have a vivid red ring. It is a typical occurrence and does not harm the eyes. The redness typically fades away within weeks.

Final thoughts

Pregnancy requires a high level of care for both mother and child. Birth injuries may be caused by any of the medical disorders listed above. For a trouble-free delivery, doctors need to look out for any underlying maternal ailments and treat them as soon as possible.

Parents whose children have suffered birth injuries that could have been avoided should also contact an attorney right away. Medical expenditures, lost income and long-term impairment, can never be compensated for, but parents may be eligible for some financial assistance because of what has occurred.


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