Most parents expect their children to come into this world healthy and happy. However, birth injuries can result in long-term pain and suffering or a lifetime of medical care. According to RightDiagnosis.com, birth injuries occur in 7 in 1,000 births. In rare cases, birth injuries can occur due to the recklessness or negligence of medical professionals. If you suspect that your child has suffered from a preventable birth injury, you may be eligible (with the help of a personal injury lawyer) for compensation. Learn more about the most common birth injuries suffered by newborns.
1. Clavicle Fractures
The clavicle, or collar bone, can fracture during a difficult vaginal delivery or from trauma at birth. According to Radiopaedia.org, clavicle fractures occur in approximately 0.5 to 1 percent of vaginal deliveries. Certain factors put some newborns at a higher risk for developing clavicle fractures, including larger than average newborns, mothers with narrow birth canals, or the use of certain tools during delivery.
2. Shoulder Dystocia
Shoulder dystocia is considered a birth emergency that can occur towards the end of labor. This condition occurs when the baby's head has been delivered, but one of the shoulders has become stuck on the mother's pubic bone. Newborns can become stuck if they are large in size, the mother's pelvis is small, or if the baby is born in an abnormal position.
3. Facial Paralysis
Facial paralysis, also known as facial nerve palsy, is the loss of voluntary muscle movement in a newborn's face. It's caused by excessive pressure on the seventh cranial nerve located in the face just before birth or during the time of birth. While the cause of facial paralysis is not always known, a large baby size, a difficult labor, or the use of epidural anesthesia is thought to contribute to the condition.
4. Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a serious condition that is thought to be caused by a lack of oxygen in a newborn's brain during childbirth. This condition can occur for a number of reasons, including failure to detect and treat certain infections in the mother during pregnancy, failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord, or failure to monitor fetal heart rate during the birthing process.
5. Perinatal Asphyxia
Perinatal asphyxia can occur due to an inadequate intake of oxygen just before, during or just after childbirth. This condition can be caused by a number of things, such as a prolapsed umbilical cord, an infection in the fetus, exposure to certain drugs before birth, or a sudden loss of blood. Newborns that have suffered from perinatal asphyxia can suffer from damage to one or more organ systems.
6. Caput Succedaneum
Caput succedaneum generally occurs during difficult or long vaginal deliveries and is characterized by a swelling of the scalp. It is more likely to occur after the membranes have broken, as the amniotic sac is no longer providing a cushion for the baby's head. Certain tools can also increase a newborn's risk of developing caput succedaneum, such as vacuum extraction which is occasionally used to help pull the baby out of the birth canal during labor.
7. Femur Fractures
A femur (thigh bone) fracture can occur when the infant's leg is twisted in an awkward position during childbirth. While rarer than clavicle fractures, femur fractures can cause long-term pain in newborns as the bone heals. Femur fractures can occur during both vaginal deliveries and cesarean sections. However, they are more likely to occur in infants that are born breech.
Birth injuries are relatively rare but when they do occur, they can cause lifelong health problems. If your newborn has suffered from a birth injury due to the recklessness or negligence of a medical professional, contact a personal injury lawyer in your area.