Birth injury or trauma is the damage that a newborn suffers before, during, or right after labor. These injuries have some severe consequences and can lead to disorders such as Erb’s palsy. Still, many of these come with minor resolvable complications. If the injuries arise because of the doctor’s negligence, parents can claim compensation. Here are a few common types and causes of birth injuries that can harm your baby. Some of them are preventable, while others require management as the infant grows older.
Preventable birth injuries
Some birth injuries can be prevented and avoided with proper medical care and proactive measures. For instance, sometimes doctors fail to detect an infection a pregnant woman might be suffering or take into account additional medication. This usually results in fetal developmental issues that cause problems during labor.
Medical professionals usually wait for a woman to have a vaginal delivery and avoid recommending C-sections because the latter has an increased chance of complications. Luckily, most birth injuries do not result in severe lifelong difficulties and are not fatal for the baby and the mother. However, some conditions such as Erb’s palsy or brain damage can result from medical malpractice and can be prevented by following proper procedures and care. In the case of life-altering injuries, the parents can find a legal expert, file a lawsuit against the doctor and hospital and receive monetary compensation. This way, the family can recover necessary financial aid to make future treatment and injury management for the child possible.
Cerebral palsy (CP)
CP a neurological condition that results from an insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. It is a motor disorder resulting from perinatal asphyxia. The condition affects a child’s ability to move and balance properly. Some associated complications include cognitive impairment, speech difficulties, learning disabilities, low bone density, increased chance of lung disease, and limited hearing or sight. These conditions can vary from mild to severe.
The three most common types of CPincludeSpastic, Dyskinetic, and Ataxic. These can lead to unpreventable illnesses in your newborn. Moreover, your child may carry mixed signs and characteristics of all three types of CP that can lead to more severe complications throughout your child’s life. While there is no proof of a cure for CP, treatments are available to help improve symptoms associated with this disorder. Also, physical therapy and educational interventions can ease the complications of the condition. Besides medication, the most effective treatment is physical therapy that helps your child improve muscle tone, comfortable movements, better walk, and make speaking easy.
Brachial plexus injuries
The brachial plexus nerves control your movements and feelings in the arms. It starts from the spinal cord, runs through the neck, and runs through both arms. These nerves can incur damage during labor while pulling the neck and shoulder of the baby apart. It results in stretching of the baby’s nerves with mild to severe damage. Nerves that completely tear result in severe movement issues. Many birth injuries result from brachial plexus nerve injury, but Erb’s palsy is the most common.
Erb’s palsy occurs because of brachial plexus nerves causing damage to the arm of the infant. It weakens the arm, causes loss of sensation, and in severe cases, paralysis. However, the damage is not permanent, and medical professionals can fix it early on. Most infants appear with early signs of being unable to move one arm better than the other. However, it often takes few months to heal completely.
In some cases, symptoms of Erb’s palsy appear in adulthood due to more severe nerve damage. Physical therapy can help your baby to restore arm movement and heal faster. Whereas to repair severely damaged nerves, parents can consider surgery. However, surgical procedures don’t typically prevent permanent deformities.
There are various reasons your child may incur a skull fracture. Since a baby’s bones are fragile, pressure over the head while in the womb is enough to cause a fracture. In addition, the birth canal and woman’s pelvic bones can concentrate enormous force on an infant’s head during labor. This also can lead to a skull fracture if the fetus is oversized. Instruments used during delivery can also cause fractures if mishandled.
Fortunately, most skull fractures are not life-threatening and heal over time. However, some brain injuries, such as cephalohematoma cause permanent brain damage.
Mostly, injuries during or before delivery can lead to brain damage. Skull fracture may be a possible reason for that, but it is rare. Cephalohematomas cause bleeding under the child’s skull that can be damaging. Still, usually, it is treatable and doesn’t leave your baby with any long-lasting brain damage.
There are some other birth injuries, such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, that can cause severe brain damage. This type of damage results from an inadequate amount of oxygen to the child’s brain during pregnancy and birth. Brain cells die because of insufficient oxygen. This is also a common cause of CP.
However, if the oxygen supply to the fetus’s brain is significantly low, it develops a condition called periventricular leukomalacia. In this condition, white brain matter dies and causes loss of tissue in the child’s brain, affecting the motor function of your child and impairing movement. There are many possibilities of abnormal development during childbirth. Most of these are caused by direct damage to the child’s head.
Carelessness and negligence in pregnancy, labor, and delivery could cost your child a lifelong disability. There are many ways to prevent such injuries, but it can only be done with better personal and medical care towards the mother and the baby. Many parents report about the medical negligence that causes damage to their newborns that was otherwise preventable. In that situation, you can get compensation for your child’s treatment and other expenses by pursuing legal action against the medical professional and the hospital.