Despite it being 2022, birth injuries are still surprisingly common. On average, about seven babies out of one thousand will experience some form of birth injury. While some birth injuries are mild and can heal on their own, some are severe and can cause lifelong illness and complications.
Before digging into the top 10 most common birth injuries, let’s set a definition. What, exactly, is a birth injury?
What Counts as a Birth Injury?
As mentioned above, birth injuries can be very mild—from bruising and lacerations—to severe. An injury is considered a birth injury if it was sustained during the birthing process. In other words, if the injury happened during or directly following birth, it is considered a birth injury or birth trauma, as it is also called.
What Can Cause Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries can be caused by a wide variety of factors—from natural occurrences to doctor negligence. When a child sustains a life-threatening or otherwise traumatic injury due to doctor negligence, parents will often need the help of a birth injury lawyer. Philadelphia to Vancouver, birth injuries can happen anywhere and be caused by a number of factors.
Here are the most common causes of birth injuries:
- When an emergency cesarean delivery is required, a “C-section”
- When the baby is born too early or is a “preemie”
- The mother is obese, making delivery more difficult
- The baby is not oriented “head-first” in the uterus
- The baby is very large
- The mother’s birth canal is too small
- Medical Malpractice—When a doctor or nurse makes a mistake using medical devices—forceps or vacuums
- Hospital negligence
What Are the Ten Most Common Birth Injuries?
Here are the ten most common birth injuries that occur:
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move, their coordination, their balance, and posture. Usually, this disorder is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain during childbirth.
Oxygen deprivation can not only cause cerebral palsy but a host of other brain and nerve disorders. Results of oxygen deprivation can be severe—paralysis, intellectual disabilities, or chronic seizures.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Traumatic births can lead to spinal cord injuries, which can adversely affect a newborn’s nervous system. These injuries can be fatal or cause lifelong issues.
Traumatic birth can cause extreme pressure on an infant’s face, leading to permanent paralysis of the facial muscles. This type of damage can occur when a baby is stuck for too long in the birth canal.
This is an oxygen deficiency of the blood and can lead to comas, seizures, and other conditions. Perinatal Asphyxia can occur when a baby doesn’t receive sufficient blood flow during childbirth.
Cephalohematomae are giant blood blisters that form between the skull and the skin. Usually, they are caused by birth trauma or incorrect use of forceps. This is not a life-threatening condition but it can cause discomfort and may require surgical intervention.
Similar to a cephalohematoma, caput succedaneum is a swelling of the scalp. The main difference between the two is that a caput succedaneum is not a blood blister.
Brachial Plexus Damage
The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that connect the spinal cord to the upper extremities. Damage to the brachial plexus can cause weak, underdeveloped muscles in the arms and paralysis.
Hemorrhages or Internal Bleeding
Bruises and internal bleeding can result from rough handling of an infant during childbirth, or if the birth itself is strained or difficult. Though not usually life-threatening, this birth injury can indicate other diseases like hemophilia.
Broken or Fractured Collarbones
The birthing process is stressful for both the mother and the child. Broken or fractured bones are a common birth injury for infants because their bones are thinner and more fragile than the bones of an adult.
Do You Need The Help Of A Birth Injury Lawyer?
If you believe your child was injured as a result of a botched or troubled birth, reach out to a birth injury lawyer. They can help you get due compensation for your child’s birth injury.