Birth injuries occur because of physical harm or any untreated illness that happens at the time of birth. Thankfully, these injuries to a newborn are generally only minor. But if the extent of the injury is grave, this can lead to serious conditions.
There’s no way to comfort a parent who has to accept the bad news of their beloved baby suffering a birth injury. Fortunately, the medical and legal industry hasn’t turned their backs on these situations. If it can be proven the birth injury happened due to negligence by the doctor and medical staff at the time of birth, parents can file a case. Read the full article here about medical malpractice.
Common Newborn Injuries
An awareness of what birth injuries are is important. These include but aren’t limited to the following:
1) Caput Succedaneum
Caput succedaneum refers to the bruising or swelling of the baby’s scalp during and after birth. While this injury may be common, it’s often so minor it can resolve on its own after a few days. You just have to ensure the baby is positioned appropriately and is well-rested for enhanced sleep and recovery.
Caput succedaneum is generally caused by the pressure coming from the vaginal wall and uterus during a head-first delivery. The likelihood of a newborn having bruised or swollen scalp increases during long labor and a hard delivery, especially when the amniotic sac is no longer able to provide a cushion for the baby’s head.
2) Brain Damage
Brain damage can happen, especially when a child is suffering from a serious head injury during the delivery. Unfortunately, brain damage is one of the most common effects of negligence when a physical injury happens due to improper use of forceps and vacuum extraction techniques.
The type of brain damage can differ from one child to another. Some newborns die shortly after birth while some may survive but have to go through physical and mental disabilities.
Brain damage can be classified as either of the following:
- Mild injuries: these are classed as mild bleeding on the brain, a fracture, or hematoma.
- Severe injuries: these happen when there’s a build-up of pressure in the head, which results in extensive bleeding and seizures.
- Moderate injuries: these types can include the lack of oxygen and possible fractures to the baby.
3) Newborn Cephalhematoma
Newborn cephalhematoma is a birth injury that occurs when there’s trauma to the baby’s head during childbirth. This is caused by a build-up of ruptured blood vessels on the tissues covering the skull.
While many newborn cephalhematomas are minor and can resolve on their own without any intervention, there may be those that’ll require surgery to avoid further complications.
Infant hematoma generally falls under two categories:
- Chronic infant hematoma: the symptoms won’t appear until days or weeks after birth.
- Acute infant hematoma: the symptoms immediately appear within hours after birth.
The risk for newborn cephalhematoma increases when the following conditions are present:
- There’s a use of assistive delivery devices
- The mother is carrying multiple children like twin deliveries
- Premature birth
- Prolonged and difficult labor
4) Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is another common injury to newborns. It’s classified as a disorder that causes effects on the baby’s motor skills, leading both to physical and mental disabilities. Unfortunately, it has no cure.
The damage brought about by the brain injury can affect any of these areas:
- Motor cortex: this can cause spastic cerebral palsy. Because your baby now has increased muscle tone, the muscles also become stiff.
- Cerebellum: any damage that happens to the newborn’s cerebellum can cause ataxic cerebral palsy. The child will suffer in the areas of balance and coordination.
- Basal ganglia: when there’s damage in this area, dyskinetic cerebral palsy happens. Your child may experience difficulty in controlling both arms and legs.
Cerebral palsy can happen due to the following mishaps:
- Too much forcing, twisting and pulling of the baby out of the birth canal
- Failure to monitor the baby’s vital signs
- Failure to perform an emergency C-section when this is already called for
Injuries to babies during birth aren’t uncommon. Many of these are so minor that by the time both the mother and baby are sent home, the injuries have already healed. Unfortunately, there are also injuries that contribute to more life-long and untreatable diseases.
Various birth injuries could occur. The most important thing to know is if your newborn has a birth injury due to negligence, bring justice to your little one and file for a case in court.