Birth injuries are one of the most daunting possibilities expecting parents can imagine. They can be devastating and are typically caused by a lack of due diligence, and even medical malpractice in some cases. While birth injuries are thankfully fairly uncommon, they still occur enough that being knowledgeable about the potential birth injuries that can occur is important. To help parents out, here is a guide on the common birth injuries you should be aware of:
When an infant’s face has too much pressure placed on it during the delivery process, the chance of their facial nerves being damaged is significantly increased. Facial paralysis happening during the delivery is more common when vacuum extraction or forceps-centric methods are used to get the baby out. This paralysis can cause the baby to be unable to move the affected portion of the face, and may or may not be permanent.
One of the more common cases of infants being injured during the delivery process, and a cause of the other injuries on this list, as well an injury in and of itself, is oxygen deprivation. When this occurs during the delivery, it can lead to serious side effects, and brain injuries. Failing to properly monitor the blood oxygen levels of either the infant or the delivering parent can lead to oxygen deprivation issues. Physical, intellectual, and other types of serious health conditions can all stem from major instances of oxygen deprivation during the delivery process.
Did you know that 2-3 infants out of a hundred are born with cerebral palsy? In addition to these natural numbers, there are some instances where the condition is caused by a birth-related injury. Unprofessional and insufficient care of the mother during labor, poor birthing techniques, and excess pressure from medical tools can all cause this serious condition to afflict a newborn infant. Although surgery can sometimes lessen the condition’s severity or remove it, the majority of infants that are unfortunate enough to experience this complication tend to suffer from cerebral palsy for their entire lifespan.
Spinal Cord Injuries
One of the most serious and consequential injuries that can affect an infant during delivery, spinal cord injuries happen from the excessive and dangerous force being placed on the infant as they’re taken out of the parent. Overly forceful use of delivery tools is a common cause of this birth-related injury, and when it occurs, the nerves and spinal cord damage can lead to paralysis, neurological problems, or even death.
When an infant comes out with a swollen scalp or bruised, discoloration on their scalp, they may have been stricken with caput succedaneum. This condition is typically caused by too much pressure being placed on the infant’s scalp during the delivery. However, this is a non-threatening injury, and will usually heal on its own without causing any lasting damage to the infant.
Hemorrhages can cause bleeding in a baby’s skull, right under the two innermost layers of their brain covering. Two types of hemorrhages can occur (subarachnoid and intracranial) in this fashion. Additionally, subconjunctival hemorrhages can arise if blood vessels in the infant’s eyes burst during delivery. Once again, too much pressure placed on the infant during the delivery process is what typically leads to this birth-related injury. Staying healthy and fit before your delivery can help lessen the chances of serious birth injuries.
Complicated deliveries that require improvised and risky methods of getting a baby out can lead to fractured collarbones, and other bone-related injuries. Although these fractures are rarely serious enough that they can be healed without permanent damage, rare cases can lead to life-long conditions, or even cause death.
If an infant is receiving insufficient levels of oxygen during a delivery, they can suffer from this condition known as perinatal asphyxia. When an infant comes out looking pale, or with labored breathing, they may be suffering from this affliction. Perinatal asphyxia can lead to shock, seizures, comas, and even death. Medical malpractice lawsuits can frequently stem from cases of perinatal asphyxia during the delivery process.
One of the most serious complications that can occur, oxygen deprivation can lead to brain injuries that can then lead to issues such as chronic seizures, cerebral palsy, and other devastating conditions. If the delivery doctor fails to properly monitor an infant during the entire birth process, especially if they keep them in the birth canal for too long, these types of oxygen deprivation-related brain injuries can occur.
Here’s to a Healthy Birth
Although the possibility of birth injury can be terrifying, the vast majority of deliveries go off without a hitch. By finding a delivery doctor you trust, and a facility that is renowned for its quality of care, you’ll be much more likely to experience a safe, easy birth that will help you deliver a healthy baby into the world.