For many parents, the birth of a child may signal a time of rejoicing for the entire family. However, some of that joy may give way to concern when the parents learn their baby has incurred birth injuries. These injuries happen more often than you might realize.
Here is some information about the most common injuries that an infant may incur during the birthing process.
Why Infants Get Birth Injuries
Ideally, mothers will have a standard delivery of her child. However, there are times children receive injuries during the birthing process. Often, it is the incompetence of the health worker in charge that leads to children with birth injuries. This means the doctor, nurse, or midwife are liable legally for their errors.
But there are also times when no one is at fault, and the child still develops birth injuries. An example of this is when the child’s placenta gets caught around the neck of the child. When this happens, it leads to less or no oxygen getting into the child’s body.
Another example is when the child has an awkward position when it is starting to travel down the birth canal. This could be a shoulder or a hip jamming into the birth canal. When this happens, it is near impossible for the child to emerge that way.
Common Birth Injuries In Children
Sometimes, the parents do not notice that there is something wrong with their child until some symptoms appear. This can happen in situations of mental handicap in toddlers. Then they become concerned and may demand an explanation from the health care professional who delivered the child.
Checklist of Common Birth Injuries
It is important to note that birth injuries often happen because the baby was too large for the opening of the birth canal. Although having a Caesarian operation instead of a normal delivery can be an option in this situation, some doctors, nurses, or midwives who are assisting may decide to force a standard delivery anyway.
They may insert their own hands into the birth canal to pull the baby out, or maybe change the position of the child to make delivery easier. Some may resort to using forceps or vacuum extraction instead. If the health care professional is not careful, too much force may result in a birth injury or even death.
Birth injuries can be either temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of the injury.
Fracture of the Clavicle:
A fracture of the clavicle sometimes occurs when the baby is in an awkward position during the birthing process. For example, such as when the shoulder or head is positioned at the opening of the birth canal. The fracture becomes noticeable when the child cries continuously and seems to favor one shoulder when it tries to move.
Bruising and Other Fractures
If the birth involved the use of forceps, one problem that could develop is bruising of the head of the child, especially on the sides of the face. If the birthing was difficult, prolonged, or sudden contact with parts of the mother’s pelvis may cause bruising or fractures. The use of a vacuum extractor can also cause bruising of the scalp or fractures of the skull.
This kind of birth trauma may result in many health disorders for the child, especially when the oxygen deprivation was extended to the point that the brain is starved for oxygen. Infants deprived of oxygen during the birthing process may develop Cerebral Palsy, which is a form of neuromuscular disability.
Brachial Plexus Injury
Also known as Erb’s palsy, this is a nerve injury located in the spinal cord connecting to the baby’s arms and hands. It is often caused by the health care professional that is delivering the infant if the baby’s shoulder catches in the birth canal opening, and the health care professional exerts too much force pulling the arm of the child. If this forceful tugging tears the nerves, the baby may suffer permanent nerve damage.
The problem with using forceps to pull a baby out of the birth canal is that the forceps may put too much pressure on the facial nerve of the infant. Parents may be unaware that anything is wrong until they observe the face of the infant and see that one part of the face seems to droop even when the other side of the face is expressing emotion.
Although every parent wants their infant to be born perfect without any health problems, it doesn’t always happen that way. Some infants may incur birth injuries for varying reasons. At times, the birth injuries occur even if the birthing room staff did their best to care for the infant during the birthing process.
To avoid any birth injuries, it is essential to select the right health care professional to help the mother give birth. If the parents feel that the health care professional was negligent during the birthing process, they may consult a birth injury lawyer about the legal steps they can take against that doctor, nurse, or midwife.