Birth injuries are devastating, and they can occur in a wide variety of ways. In some cases, birth injuries are nobody’s fault, and they occur as a result of uncontrollable variables related to the child or mother. However, there are times when birth injuries occur as a result of the careless or negligent actions of medical professionals. Here, we want to review some of the most common causes of birth injuries.
What Causes These Devastating Injuries?
Birth injuries are injuries that happen to a child before, during, or right after they have gone through the labor and delivery process. In some cases, birth injuries result in temporary symptoms that are resolved within days or weeks, but there are times when birth injuries can be long-term or even permanent and affect a person’s entire life.
Maternal conditions that cause birth injuries
The health and physical condition of a mother directly impacts the child in her womb. Some of the ways that a maternal condition can impact the health of a child include:
- The mother’s pelvis being the wrong shape or size for delivery of the child. If the pelvis shape is not conducive to natural birth, then there is a potential that the child will have issues coming through the birth canal, which could lead to them twisting and reducing oxygen flow.
- Difficult labor and delivery process. Difficult labor could be caused by the fetus being in an awkward position or by the cervix not expanding as normal. Both of these conditions can lead to birth injuries.
- Prolonged labor. In general, longer labors are associated with a higher risk of birth injuries.
Infant conditions that cause birth injuries
There are conditions associated with the child that could directly lead to them sustaining birth injuries:
- Children weighing more than 8 pounds 13 ounces. Infants that are heavier will have more trouble going through the birth canal and be more susceptible to birth injuries.
- A child born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Premature babies have higher rates of birth injuries because their nervous and musculoskeletal systems have not fully developed.
- Abnormal positioning. When an infant is in an abnormal position, including breach positions, heads up positions, or buttocks first, they are more likely to sustain a birth injury.
External factors that cause birth injuries
There are also external factors aside from the mother and child that could lead to significant birth injuries. This includes:
- The doctor or gynecologist not properly monitoring a mother. The monitoring of a mother and child should begin early in the pregnancy and happen all the way through until after a child is delivered. Failing to adequately monitor a mother’s health and the health of the child in the womb is a dereliction of duty.
- Misuse of birth tools such as vacuums or forceps. Sometimes, a mother needs additional assistance to help deliver a child, but the misuse of working tools could lead to significant birth injuries.
- Failing to perform a C-section. There are times when a C-section should be performed, but if this decision is prolonged, it could lead to maternal and fetal distress.