Birth is a beautiful, but frightening experience. Every parent hopes that their child will be brought into the world as safely as humanly possible, but the reality is that many infants experience some type of injury during delivery. Knowledge of what types of afflictions and injuries are possible can help ease your mind, as you’ll know how to ensure these injuries cause minimal damage to your infant. Nine birth injuries are particularly common for infants to experience during delivery:
When an infant experiences cephalohematoma, they are afflicted by a birth injury defined by bleeding underneath the cranial bone. The raised bumps that signify the injury tend to appear several hours post-birth and are frequently caused by improper pressure or forceps usage. These injuries have been known to clear up in a few months, but have the possibility of causing complications, such as anemia, hypotension, meningitis, jaundice, and other serious conditions.
2. Cerebral Palsy
Did you know that between 2-3 children within 1,000 are born with cerebral palsy? Even if you did know this fact, you may not know that the complication often occurs due to birthing complications. Cerebral palsy cannot be cured, but it can be effectively managed and allow your child to lead a healthy life. That being said, cerebral palsy can cause other severe, serious health issues – including learning disabilities, speech problems, and vision/hearing impairments.
If bleeding occurs underneath the surface of an infant’s skull, the two innermost layers of the brain covering can be affected. This can lead to afflictions known as intracranial and subarachnoid hemorrhages. Subconjunctival hemorrhages can also occur if a baby is experiencing bleeding within the blood vessels of their eyes. Improper pressure during the birth procedure is the most common cause of this particular set of birth-related injuries. If you find yourself in a situation where you believe negligent behavior led to your infant being injured during delivery, reach out to Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to protect your legal rights.
4. Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are by far one of the most serious, life-threatening injuries that infants can experience during birth. Overly forceful use of forceps, improper handling of an infant while it’s exiting the birth canal, and other missteps can cause spinal cord injuries that damage the spinal nerve and cord system. If an infant experiences a serious spinal cord injury, paralysis, neurological problems, and other serious complications can occur.
5. Caput Succedaneum
This complication deals with the swelling of an infant’s scalp and can cause bruising and dislocation in the affected area. Caput succedaneum typically happens due to improper forceps application and is one of the most common of the common birth injuries that we’ll be discussing. That being said, caput succedaneum is never life threatening, and tends to heal on its own (and does so rather quickly in most cases).
6. Perinatal Asphyxia
Perinatal asphyxia occurs when a baby receives insufficient oxygen during birth. Oxygen deficiency in the blood causes the infant to be born with labored breathing, a pale complexion, or sometimes serious complications such as shock, coma, or seizures. Thankfully, doctors are well trained to treat any shortness of breath or insufficient oxygen as the birth occurs and is completed.
7. Fractured Collarbones
One of the most common injuries infants experience during birth is a fractured collarbone. These bone fractures typically happen due to pressure that’s placed on the area during the ever-complicated delivery process. These fractures are rarely known to lead to serious complications, however, infants will need to be immobilized in some manner to help ensure the injury heals appropriately. While not the most serious injury on this list, it does become a frustrating ordeal. This birth injury can sometimes lead to injuries for the delivering parent as well.
8. Brachial Plexus
Brachial plexus injuries involve nerve damage that affects the area between the spine to the hand. Although most injuries of this type are temporary, permanent damage and disability can occur from brachial plexus complications. Mild forms of this injury involve stretching issues, while severe cases can lead to permanent, extreme nerve damage. This injury often happens in conjunction with other injuries on this list.
9. Facial Paralysis
When an infant’s face experiences too much pressure during the birth process, damaged facial nerves can cause facial paralysis. The injury is much more common in instances where forceps or vacuum extraction is being used to complete the delivery. In severe cases, the baby may be unable to move the affected side of the face at all, which can cause issues with the mouth, nose, eyes, and skin. Thankfully, most cases are not permanent.
Here’s to a Healthy Delivery!
Even though birth injuries are common, many infants are born in a perfectly healthy, injury-free manner. Thanks to this, you can rest easy knowing that your child is more likely than not to be happy, healthy, and safe after their delivery. With this knowledge, you can rest easy and prepare to welcome your child into the world!