In an ideal clinical setting, a mother would be able to give birth to a normal baby who’s in excellent health due to the kind and competent assistance of medical staff. Unfortunately, there are times when a baby suffers some birth injuries during the process of childbirth, sometimes, due to mistakes or negligence of the medical staff.
If you’re worried about your baby suffering from a birth injury, you may need to express that to your OB-GYNE. That way, the doctor will be extra careful when assisting during the birthing process.
Here are some of the most common birth injuries that your baby will be at risk for:
1. Oxygen Deprivation
This birth injury, which involves umbilical cord gases, may happen at any point while the mother is in labor, and even after the baby has come out of the birth canal. The medical staff needs to be on the alert because oxygen deprivation can result in irreversible brain damage to the infant.
Often, when there’s oxygen deprivation, the infant may come down with cerebral palsy, which is incurable. However, if the medical staff is at fault, you can hire a lawyer to have fair compensation.
There are a variety of reasons why some infants are at risk of getting fractured bones during their delivery. For instance, the child could be large so there’s difficulty when they pass through the birth canal. The mother’s birth canal could also be narrower than normal. Or, the child could have lodged a shoulder in the cervix.
Another risk factor is a breech delivery. With this, the most commonly fractured body part is the collarbone of the infant.
However, you shouldn’t panic when your infant gets a fracture. With close medical attention, the fracture can heal and the child will normally develop afterward.
3. Damaged Nerves
This type of birth injury can be caused by too much pressure on the child’s face as it travels through the birth canal. A doctor that applied too much force on the forceps as they guide the baby out of the birth canal can also damage the facial nerves of the infant.
If the nerve damage is only mild and temporary, it’ll heal and your child will develop normally. However, there are cases when the nerve is actually torn, which will require surgery. If left untreated, a damaged facial nerve may result in Bell’s Palsy–the drooping of the face.
4. Brachial Plexus Injury
This is a type of nerve damage injury that affects the nerves that link the spinal cord to the arms and hands of the infant. This can be caused by overeager medical staff that may pull on the arm of the infant while it’s moving through the birth canal. If the infants’ shoulder is lodged at the cervical area, this may frustrate the medical staff so they pull the arm hoping to bring the entire body of the infant through the birth canal faster.
The degree of damage depends on how the nerves were stretched, pulled, or even torn when the medical staff pulled the infant’s arm. Sometimes, the damage is just mild and resolves itself within weeks or months. For other infants, the damage could be permanent.
5. Damage To The Infant’s Scalp
There are different ways by which the scalp of the infant can be injured. For instance, some doctors may rely on vacuum extraction on the infant’s scalp to make them come out faster. This may cause bruising or lacerations of the scalp.
Using forceps on the baby’s head may also cause some damage to the scalp. The damage can be worse if the childbirth process is long and protracted, and there’s pressure on the baby’s head from the birth canal walls. If the scalp starts to swell, this condition is called Caput Succedaneum.
If the damage is only skin deep, the baby will usually be able to recover quite well from the childbirth process.
Risk Factors to Watch Out For
Take note that some risk factors may warn the attending physician that the infant may incur birth injuries. Some of these are:
- Obese mother
- Odd shape of the birth canal or pelvis
- Labor is protracted or difficult
- Childbirth is premature
- The infant is in the wrong position within the womb
- The infant is unusually large
- Caesarian delivery
If the mother is informed beforehand by the OB-GYN that the birthing process will probably get difficult, this gives the doctor and the mother some space to deliberate their options.
For instance, if the OB-GYN discovers that the birth canal or pelvis are oddly-shaped, the doctor may recommend a caesarian delivery since there’s less risk with that.
Although no parent would want birth injuries to happen to their child, it does happen. Sometimes, it may happen even if the attending physician and the delivery room staff are very careful.
The good news is that medical knowledge has advanced very much these days. So, even if your child suffers a birth injury, the chances that it’ll eventually heal are very good. You just need to find a very competent doctor who’ll manage your pregnancy and the resulting childbirth with extra care.