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Published On: Mon, Jul 2nd, 2018

Common Birth Injuries That All Parents Should Know About

Having a baby can be the most joyful and exciting experience in your life. There are so many things happening all at once and a huge range of emotions to boot. Parents always want their baby to arrive with very little drama and as few complications as possible, even though birth itself can be a traumatic event.

photo/ Gerd Altmann

No two births are the same. While most births are fairly routine without any significant problems, there are always risks that come with the territory. A normal birth can become stalled and emergency procedures can become necessary within just minutes.

It is the doctors and nurses in the birthing room that are there to support your baby as they come into the world. They have seen nearly every type of situation from the normal to the complicated, and they will do everything in their power to make sure that your baby arrives as safely as possible. In these emergency situations, there can sometimes be injuries that occur to the baby while trying to get them delivered quickly.

Although these injuries are completely unintentional, they are often the result of too much force being used on the child. There have been over 2 million cases of common birth injuries caused by medical negligence in the US since 2006. All parents should be aware of the nature of some of these injuries, both the type that often heal on their own as well as the kind that can have lasting effects.

Brachial Plexus Injuries (BPI)

  • Damage or bruising of a nerve bundle found at the top of the spine on the neck. This often clears on its own but in severe cases can cause damage to nerves travelling through the neck, shoulder, arm and hand.

Bone Fractures

  • The most common type of birth injury is a break to the collarbone. This will heal on its own.

Cephalhematoma

  • A collection of blood (bruising) below a portion of the skull bone. Will often clear on its own.

Caput Succedaneum

  • A swelling or discoloration of the scalp. Generally caused by excessive pressure on the skull during delivery. Will clear on its own.

Perinatal Asphyxia

  • This is when the baby is not getting sufficient oxygen during the delivery. Can result in labored breathing, pale skin, seizures and coma. This will often clear on its own shortly after birth but has been known to cause permanent neurological damage

Spinal Cord Injury

  • A meningeal tear to the spinal cord during delivery can be caused by the forceable use of forceps in an emergency delivery. This can cause paralysis and permanent neurological damage

Cerebral Palsy

  • In the US 1 in every 400 babies is born with some degree of Cerebral Palsy. This causes muscle spasms, overall muscle weakness and a lack of fine motor skills. Can be caused by premature birth and depleted oxygen levels during delivery.

There is so much to worry about while awaiting the arrival of your child that it is a good idea to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your delivery or the risks that are involved.

Author: Mahendra

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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