Don’t Be Scared, But Your Child Could Have One of These Birth Injuries
Even though childbirth is mostly safe thanks to modern medicine, your newborn baby can still sustain certain injuries during the delivery. Some of these injuries are unavoidable while others could be the result of medical malpractice. Here are five common types of birth injuries that might affect your child.
Traumatic Head Injury
A traumatic head injury can occur if the obstetrician improperly uses forceps, a vacuum extraction device or other tools to assist with delivery. Medical staff who improperly handle your baby immediately following birth can also cause injuries to your child’s head. Cerebral palsy is one of the most common conditions that can occur because of a head injury and can affect muscle control and mobility. Cognitive functioning may also be impaired with this type of injury. Some head injuries, however, will heal on their own and won’t cause any permanent damage.
Fractures, or breaks in the continuity of bones, sometimes happen when a child is under great distress while being born. Symptoms of bone fractures in newborns include redness and swelling in the affected area and a noticeable deformity. It may be difficult to initially detect bone fractures in your child if symptoms are not obvious. Doctors can minimize the risks of bone fractures in newborn babies by performing cesarean sections if delivery through the birth canal will likely be too traumatic. If you suspect that your child has sustained fractures from being delivered, you can always consult with a birth injury attorney to explore your legal options.
Brachial Plexus Injury
Your child’s brachial plexus, which is a series of nerves that travels from the spine to the neck, rib cage and armpits, can become injured if the right precautions are not taken by your doctor. This injury often happens when a baby’s arm needs to be manipulated by the obstetrician for the child to pass completely through the birth canal. If these nerves get damaged, your child may experience weakness in either of the affected arms as well as sensations that feel like burning or electric shocks. Permanent disability can even occur in severe cases. Erb’s palsy may also develop from a brachial plexus injury and result in arm paralysis.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn
Also known as PPHN, this condition resulting from oxygen deprivation is usually linked to medical negligence. A genetic defect can also cause PPHN. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, this condition occurs in approximately one out of every 500 live births. Problems associated with PPHN that can affect your newborn include a rapid heartbeat and respiratory failure. Chronic lung disease and hearing impairments may be some of the long-term effects that your child could experience.
Being aware of these conditions can arm you with the knowledge that you need to ensure a safer delivery for your child. Even though all birth injuries cannot be prevented, you and your doctor can take some additional precautions to lower the risks for your newborn.