The majority of infants born in the United States come through birth with no or few physical injuries. However, there is the chance something could go wrong during the birthing process. It is estimated that out of every 1,000 births there are 29 babies that are injured during the process – whether it is the result of poor instrument usage or the way the baby is handled by the doctor.
What Causes Birth Trauma?
Birth trauma is a general term that encompasses any type of trauma that may occur during childbirth, including cuts, fractures or other injuries. Birth trauma is more common in developing countries than the United States, but there are still an estimated two percent of births that suffer from physical injuries after birth.
Trauma occurs more often with larger babies, especially if the baby is too large compared to the mother’s pelvis. A larger baby delivery often requires the physician to use forceful methods in order to remove the baby – such as tools or their hands. In these situations, injuries can occur if the doctor uses too much physical force while handling the baby or if they are not careful with the instruments provided to them.
The most common conditions that result in birth trauma involve:
- Babies that weigh over 8 pounds, 13 ounces
- Babies that are born before the 37th week of pregnancy
- A mother’s pelvis that is too small or oddly shaped for delivery
- A difficult labor
- Abnormal fetal position
- Prolonged labor
Common Traumas During Birth
Some birth traumas are more common than others, including:
- Caput Succedaneum – This includes scalp swelling and occurs after a short birth. Sometimes bruising can occur after longer and more difficult labors as well. It may also be seen in babies that have had the vacuum suction used during delivery.
- Cephalohematoma – This is when blood accumulates below the baby’s periosteum in the skull. It appears as a lump on the baby’s head and does not require medical attention – it should disappear within a few weeks. However sometimes they can result in jaundice.
- Bruising and/or Broken Bones – This can occur on the baby’s face, head and extremities as they become lodged in the birth canal. This is often the result of a baby that is too large or an issue with the mother’s pelvis during birth.
- Subconjunctival Hemorrhage – This type of bleeding happens when the baby’s blood vessels of the eyes break.
- Bell’s Palsy – This occurs when facial nerves are broken or damaged during labor and can also occur when the baby is delivered via forceps.
- Brachial Plexus – This occurs in difficult births, especially if the baby’s shoulders become stuck during birth. The baby will be unable to flex or rotate their affected arm and the severity will depend on how damaged the nerves of the arm and shoulders are.
- Oxygen Deprivation – If a baby is stuck in the birth canal or in fetal distress during birth, they could suffer from severe oxygen deprivation that results in lifelong complications or could be fatal.
Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.