Birth injuries are much more common than you might think.
Statistics show that 7 out of every 1000 babies are born in the United States with a birth injury. Some of these birth injuries leave no lasting effects on the child. Sadly, many birth injury cases result in permanent, devastating effects.
Read on for an in-depth guide to birth trauma and what you can do if your child suffers a birth injury.
What is Birth Injury?
A birth injury is defined as any damage to a baby before, during, or shortly after labor and delivery. It is also referred to as birth trauma.
There are various types of birth injuries. Many of them are minor and common during childbirth.
The most serious injuries can lead to lasting damage or death.
If your child suffers a birth injury, it is likely that someone is at fault and you deserve compensation. But before we get to that, let’s review the many types of birth injuries.
Birth Injury Guide
There are many different types of birth injuries that can occur to an infant. These include early or late delivery due to wrong calculations of the due date, infection in the infant or mother, and more.
Here are the main kinds of birth trauma that can happen to an infant.
When a baby exits the womb, there can be a lot of pressure on the head. Sometimes the birth canal or mother’s pelvic bones can cause a fracture.
Other times, instruments used to deliver the baby can cause a fracture. If a baby’s head bleeds under the skull, that can also cause a skull fracture.
Most infant skull fractures heal with time and do not lead to other complications.
Brachial Plexus Injuries and Erb’s Palsy
A brachial plexus is a group of nerves that run from the spinal cord, past the neck, and down each arm. They are responsible for controlling movement and feeling in the arms.
These nerves can become damaged when a baby’s neck and shoulders are pulled apart too much during delivery. Severe stretching of these nerves leads to the rupture of the brachial plexus from the spine.
Erb’s palsy is a type of birth injury that falls under the heading of brachial plexus. This is when damage to the brachial plexus leads to an arm that is weak, lacks sensation, or is paralyzed.
Brachial plexus damage that leads to issues in the hands, wrists, or lower arms is called Klumpke’s palsy.
Damage to the brachial plexus is usually not permanent. The condition can heal after a few months on its own or with the help of physical therapy.
Sometimes surgery is necessary. In other cases, a person will live with the damage throughout his or her whole life.
Other Nerve Injuries
An infant’s nerves might be damaged, torn, or overstretched during childbirth. Depending on which nerves are damaged, the baby might have paralysis or weakness in various parts of the body.
For example, a facial nerve could sustain damage from the use of forceps during delivery.
Another kind of birth trauma is physical damage to the newborn.
Broken bones, skin damage, bone dislocations, soft tissue damage, and lacerations may occur during a long and difficult delivery.
Physical injuries can cause internal bleeding. Severe brain bleeding can result in severe brain damage.
Delayed or Early Birth
Delayed birth affects about 8% of all deliveries.
As we mentioned earlier, delivering a baby too soon or too late is a type of birth trauma.
Early (or preterm) birth poses significant risks for the baby. His/her lungs may not yet be fully developed and they may need help to breathe. Low birth weight makes it harder for infants to suckle and fight off infections.
Delayed birth (or prolonged labor) occurs when a woman is in labor for much longer than is safe for her or her baby. Infants can struggle to get enough oxygen when they are in the birth canal for an extended period of time.
Muscle or nerve damage due to limited oxygen is also a possibility.
An infant can sustain a traumatic brain injury during pregnancy or delivery. Brain damage is serious and can result in severe, permanent health issues.
One of the most common types of brain damage is cerebral palsy. Cerebral Palsy relates to several chronic conditions that affect body movements and muscle coordination.
Various medications can cause birth injuries in babies. Doctors should know (or confirm) which medications are safe for pregnant women. But, malpractice happens.
Certain medications can lead to concerns such as congenital heart disease in newborns.
If a doctor fails to properly monitor a pregnant woman, the newborn could be at risk for serious birth complications.
Poor nutrition, exposure to toxins, and other factors can become severe if not properly monitored and corrected.
Infant Wrongful Death
Wrongful death is when an infant or mother dies due to the negligence of healthcare providers.
This is a tragic birth trauma that there is no way to fix or undo. In these situations, many parents choose to file a childbirth injury lawsuit.
When You May Need a Birth Trauma Lawyer
If your child suffers any kind of birth trauma, you should contact a lawyer for birth injuries.
Some birth injuries are unavoidable, such as those caused by the mother’s pelvic bones. But in many cases, birth trauma is caused by medical negligence.
You have the legal right to hold that doctor accountable for his or her carelessness.
An experienced birth injury lawyer can help you understand your rights. Your lawyer will advocate for you to make sure you present your case as convincingly as possible. He or she will help you get the compensation you deserve.
Your lawyer will also advise you on whether or not to take a settlement offer.
As you can see, birth trauma can happen in many ways and in a variety of circumstances.
We hope that this guide has helped you understand what birth injuries are and what you can do about it.
Come back again soon for more informative articles for you to read.