Approximately 4 million live births occur in America every year, and up to 8 out of every 1,000 babies suffer from some form of birth injury. Most birth injuries are minor and heal relatively quickly on their own or with moderate treatment. But that doesn’t help alleviate the immediate worry and fear associated with the discovery on the part of a parent or loved ones. Most birth injury complications are preventable. And unfortunately, enough birth injuries are serious or extensive enough to lead to an ongoing need for treatment which often requires contacting a competent birth injury attorney to discuss possible compensation options. But what are the top causes of birth injuries?
Medical practitioners are required to monitor the growth stage of the mother and fetus during pregnancy. But far too often, unnecessary inducing and/or premature labor are encouraged. Unless it’s medically necessary, inducing can be a risky option that could lead to some serious birth injury complications. Established health issues like a weakened cervix, hypertension, or a decline in maternal or fetal health can lead to natural premature delivery which needs to be overseen carefully to avoid birth injuries.
Labor is an extensive surgical process for most mothers and infants. But complications can extend the delivery and potentially lead to a traumatic outcome. Possible dangerous complications connected to delayed pregnancy can include cephalopelvic disproportion (the mother’s pelvic is smaller than the infant’s head), macrosomia (large sized fetus), undiagnosed or untreated maternal illness, and fetal body position during delivery. Any of those complications can lead to birth injuries or even fatality for the infant or mother.
During and after childbirth, it’s essential to monitor and maintain proper oxygen levels for the mother and child. It’s more common for the fetus to undergo oxygen deprivation which can, in turn, lead to a potentially severe or lifelong birth injury complication. There are several causes of oxygen deprivation, but it can lead to a serious condition called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Once oxygen is cut for too long, brain cells begin to die and birth asphyxia such as HIE is one of the main causes of cerebral palsy–one of the most extensive and expensive delivery/birth-related neurological conditions.
Medical professionals go through years of specialized training to learn proper protocol and safety techniques for delivering infants. However, various issues can arise to create a traumatic delivery and as the head crowns first, the infant’s head sometimes receives the brunt of that trauma. An infant’s skull is especially soft, so even minor head trauma can lead to brain and nervous system damage, hematomas, and even long-term or lifelong challenges and disabilities such as cerebral palsy.
Aggressive Or Forceful Delivery Practices
A difficult pregnancy is stressful all around, but by the time the infant is ready to be delivered a successful birth may require more effort and strength than what the mother has left to offer. Special delivery tools such as forceps and vacuums are used sometimes to assist the delivery and assist the mother with her moments of childbirth. But sometimes those tools can be mishandled or used inappropriately, causing birth injury complications. This is usually due to medical malpractice issues such as lack of communication between the medical team or aggressive or forceful delivery practices. If you feel your child’s birth injury is likely due to malpractice, contact a birth injury attorney to discuss your concerns and options.