What Is the Most Common Type of Birth Injury?

Giving birth to a child is one of the most special moments in a person’s life. Our children are precious to us, and we want them to be as happy and as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, thousands of children are born each year with a birth injury.

Depending on the circumstances of the injury, these children can suffer from lifelong consequences, require significant medical care, and may be unable to care for themselves as they grow up. Some birth injuries are more common than others, and many of them are the result of negligent practices on the part of a doctor, nurse, or obstetrician.

#1: Brachial Plexus Injury

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that helps send signals between our spinal cord and our shoulders, arms, and hands. These nerves are vital in helping us perform our daily functions – however, brachial plexus birth injuries are unfortunately common.

A brachial plexus injury occurs when, during the course of labor and delivery, a doctor stretches, compresses, rips, or tears away the child’s brachial plexus from the spinal cord when removing the child from the birth canal.

As a result, the child can suffer from pain, stiff joints, and numbness in the arm, hand, and shoulders. In more severe cases, the muscles can degenerate and lead to atrophy. The child can also develop permanent paralysis and muscle weakness.

#2: Clavicle Fractures

Improper delivery techniques can also lead to severe fracturing of the newborn’s bones – and the clavicle is particularly at risk. Babies have very delicate bones, and doctors need to take great care when delivering them to avoid breaking them. If a doctor is too forceful when delivering the child, the trauma can easily cause a clavicle fracture.

Clavicle fractures during birth lead to severe pain for the baby, and it also heightens the risk of brachial plexus injuries. The brachial plexus is very close to the collarbone in newborns, and trauma to this area can also cause injury to these nerves. As a result, the baby will lose his or her ability to move his or her arm until the area heals – or he or she might suffer from permanent paralysis.

#3: Cephalohematoma

Some doctors use birth-assisting tools like forceps during labor and delivery, although many cases show that these tools can pose a significant risk to a newborn. Infant cephalohematoma is a condition that can result from the use of these tools. With this condition, the tools damage the blood vessels under the baby’s scalp, leading to a collection of blood between the scalp and the skull. This condition increases a newborn’s risk for complications such as anemia and jaundice, which can be significantly dangerous without immediate treatment.

#4: Perinatal Asphyxia

This condition occurs when your newborn does not breathe normally before, during, or after labor and delivery. The baby does not get the levels of oxygen that he or she needs to survive, and as a result, can suffer long-lasting brain damage and other trauma.

In a normal labor, doctors monitor the baby’s heartbeat to make sure that he or she is receiving the right amount of oxygen. Healthcare workers can easily identify if a baby is in distress by reading these monitors. Failure to notice that a baby doesn’t have oxygen, ignoring the symptoms, or failing to monitor the oxygen at all can lead to significant consequences.

Without an adequate level of oxygen, your child can suffer from significant brain damage or even die in the womb. Perinatal asphyxia increases the risk of the child developing other birth injuries – he or she can develop lifelong intellectual disabilities, seizures, or even cerebral palsy.

If you or your child suffered from a birth injury during labor and delivery, legal options are available to you. You could hold the medical provider responsible for these injuries liable for your damages in a birth injury lawsuit. Contact a Kansas City birth injury lawyer as soon as you can to discuss your case and begin the filing process.