Childbirth injuries are a grave cause of concern for parents. These injuries happen for many reasons. They could occur because of medical complications, such as troubled labor or staff negligence. No matter what the case is, parents have a right to know what went wrong in the event of an injury. Not all birth injuries are alike. Some birth injuries are temporary and go away after a few trips to the doctor, while others result in lifelong afflictions.
Birth injuries are serious, without a doubt. However, don’t worry yourself sick, especially if you are not sure whether your child is affected or not. So for your own peace of mind, you need to know the pertinent facts about birth injuries. Here’s what you need to know:
1. What Is Birth Injury?
According to Miller and Zois, for every 1,000 babies delivered in the US, about 6.6 of them have a birth injury. For any parent, the thought of their child being a part of the 6.6 is terrifying. However, most of these scenarios are not in the parents’ control. There are many factors at play that can cause harm to a child, some of the most common being complicated labor and staff incompetence.
One of the ways a parent can tell there is an injury is by following the symptoms a child showcases. These symptoms can include anything from stiff muscles, blindness, and in extreme cases, seizures. The seriousness of these complications is enough to wheel the child into the emergency ward.
Below are some examples of these injuries
- Bruises of the Scalp: A child can have injuries on their head and face after birth. These may include visible bruises and lumps scattered across their skin. Also, there may be bleeding inside their eyes and under their skin in some cases.
- Nerve Damage: A child’s facial and shoulder nerves can get damaged during birth. There may be a noticeable paralysis across the child’s features. Also, nerve damage in the shoulder may lead to brachial palsy, i.e. losing arm movement. Fortunately, most nerve damages are temporary.
- Brain Injury: A child may suffer from a brain injury during birth in rare cases. During labor, if the mother cannot breathe properly, it deprives the child of oxygen, leading to brain damage. A typical example of this type of damage is cerebral palsy. According to an attorney Kenneth A. Stern, about two to three of every thousand children have cerebral palsy.
2. What Are The Common Causes Of Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries occur due to various reasons. The process of birthing is tedious. An expecting mother needs help and support during such a fragile time. Categorically, birth injuries come under four groups: Delayed birth, medical malpractice, oxygen deprivation, and drug-related harms. Each factor brings its own set of problems that alert parents that their child needs help.
When a mother goes into labor, the timing of each contraction needs to be noted. If labor lasts over eighteen hours, it comes under delayed birth. Continuous labor with no signs of child crowning puts pressure on the infant’s brain. The fetus goes into distress and increases the blood pressure of the mother. In this case, the child may sustain nerve damages while the mother may have a stroke.
Doctors need to be careful when they’re assisting a mother during labor. If they use excessive force to pull the child or do not strap an oxygen mask on the mother immediately during asphyxiation, they can endanger the child. Inexperienced and careless staff are walking hazards. In their hands, a child can get many injuries. Also, their mishandling can result in a child’s death. They may read the ultrasound wrong or cause a blunt trauma by accidentally striking the baby. If they use a vacuum at high pressure, they can damage the child’s brain during birth.
The child may not get sufficient oxygen during birth, leading to severe complications. Circumstances like prolapsed umbilical cords can deprive the child of getting oxygen. They also come under Hypoxia, where the fetal brain is not getting enough blood. Most brain injuries stem from cases of deprivation. If the mother has low blood pressure, cases of anoxia arise, which leads to the death of the child’s brain cells. These injuries compromise their lifestyle, making them dependent on medical aid for the rest of their lives.
Mothers get prescribed Pitocin, which induces labor. However, this drug can cause strong muscular contractions that are unmanageable. When the uterine muscles are under stress, they can rupture. The uterine walls collapsing with the child still inside can squeeze the baby tight, impacting their brain, causing a seizure, or causing their death.
Births are a monumental occasion for parents. But, the lack of sufficient care endangers the child’s life and becomes a cause of concern for these parents. Birth injuries can happen to anyone. These injuries arise from multiple circumstances such as delayed birth, oxygen deprivation, medical malpractice, or the medicines administered. Children with birth injuries carry the weight of their condition through their lives. They have apparent symptoms and even physical deficiencies, making growing up challenging. The only remedy in such tragic situations is going for a lawsuit and contacting the best practitioners to treat the child. With the right help, there is still a silver lining for parents amongst dark looming clouds.