Bringing a child into the world is a cheerful experience for parents, but it can also be a challenging one. Labor and delivery can be unpredictable, and sometimes complications can arise that lead to birth injuries.
Birth injuries can range from mild to severe and can have lasting effects on a child’s health and well-being. Some can be preventable, and that’s why it’s important to be aware of them.
Below are 7 of the most common birth injuries around the world.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that controls the movement and sensation in the arms and hands. During a difficult delivery, the baby’s shoulders may get stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone, causing the brachial plexus nerves to stretch or tear.
This often results in a condition known as Erb’s palsy, which can cause weakness or paralysis in the affected arm of the child. Sometimes this injury can be caused by malpractice on part of the doctor helping with the delivery. In that case, it’s best to hire a brachial plexus birth injury lawyer.
Cephalohematoma is a collection of blood that occurs between the skull and the periosteum, which is the membrane that covers the bones in the skull. It often occurs because of a difficult delivery or the use of forceps or vacuum extraction.
The blood can cause a bump to form on the baby’s head, and in some cases, the baby may require treatment to reduce the risk of jaundice or infection.
Caput succedaneum is another condition that can cause swelling on a baby’s head, but it occurs in the scalp instead of the skull. Similarly, it occurs as a result of a long and difficult delivery, and it can cause the baby’s head to appear weirdly shaped.
Most cases of caput succedaneum resolve on their own within a few days or weeks, but in severe cases, the baby may require treatment to reduce the risk of infection.
Facial Nerve Injuries
Facial nerve injuries occur when the facial nerve is damaged during delivery. This nerve controls the movement of the muscles in the face, and damage can result in facial paralysis.
Most cases of facial nerve injuries also resolve on their own within a few weeks, but in some cases, the baby may require surgery to correct the problem.
Fractures are also common injuries that can occur during delivery when the baby’s bones are subjected to excessive pressure or force. The most common bones to fracture during delivery are the collarbone and the clavicle.
In many cases, these fractures heal on their own within a few weeks, but the baby may require treatment to manage pain.
Intracranial hemorrhage occurs when there is bleeding inside the baby’s skull. This happens as a result of a difficult delivery, trauma during delivery, or the use of vacuum extraction.
Intracranial hemorrhage can cause a range of symptoms, including seizures, lethargy, and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, it can lead to brain damage or even death.
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a type of brain damage that occurs when the baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen and blood flow during delivery.
It is caused by delayed delivery or a problem with the placenta or umbilical cord. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy causes several symptoms like seizures, low muscle tone, and breathing difficulties.