Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

A birth injury is a physical trauma the newborn child receives during labor. It is associated with several different factors, including maternal conditions, abnormal fetal size, and weight or medical negligence of the doctors. Birth injuries can cause severe damage to your child’s nervous system and can cause lifelong impairment in the worst-case scenario. Also, birth injuries caused by medical negligence can put the life of both mother and her newborn child at risk.

When expecting a new child, no one ever plans on having to deal with a birth injury. However, birth injuries become a reality for many families every year and as a result, they are left riddled with worries for the child’s future and costly medical treatment.

Birth injuries and what you can do to avoid them

Pregnancy is a delicate time for both the mother and the child, and extreme care should be given to them during this period. While many risk factors associated with birth injuries are beyond the doctor’s control, medical negligence in addressing these risk factors can cause severe damage. As a result, many babies suffer birth injuries that could have been prevented.

If you or someone you know have a child suffering from birth injuries, just know that live help is available and is just a call away. Getting the help you need can guide you to take action for your child and secure their future.

Risk factors for childbirth injuries

Several maternal and infant conditions are linked to birth injuries. Below we have identified the most common conditions that increase the risk of birth injury. Pregnant women need to understand these risks to avoid anything that can lead to a birth injury.

  1. Prolonged Labor

One of the most prevalent causes of birth injuries is a delay in the onset of labor. The term “delayed birth” refers to pregnancies lasting longer than 18 hours. Pressure on the baby’s brain grows as the labor progresses. The compression of the uterus can cause fetal discomfort and high blood pressure, leading to strokes and other cardiovascular disorders and heart attacks.

  1. Maternal Medical Conditions

Without proper prenatal care and monitoring, an expecting mother with a medical condition may put her and her unborn child at greater risk of harm. Doctors have linked many maternal conditions with birth injuries; the following is a rundown of possible conditions. 

  • Asphyxia: If the mother has an abnormal pelvis shape, it’s not conducive to a safe delivery. It poses a risk that the baby can writhe or struggle in the birth canal, leading to a loss of oxygen.
  • Dystocia: A condition that can cause complications for the child while exiting the delivery canal. It’s caused by incorrect fetal position or unexpanded cervix.
  • Gestational diabetes: In expecting mothers, it’s a potential factor linked to preterm delivery, macrosomia, and preeclampsia. Early diagnosis can help minimize the risk of birth injuries and ensure the safe delivery of the child.
  • Preeclampsia: A condition caused by placenta abnormalities or gestational diabetes. It entails rapidly worsening severe maternal hypertension linked with lack of oxygen and brain damage. Preeclampsia raises the risk of birth injury since it typically necessitates an early or rapid delivery of the newborn.
  1. Maternal Infections

Birth injuries are more likely to occur if the mother suffers from an infection. A maternal infection, if left untreated, may cause a reduction in fetal oxygen flow, which can lead to cerebral palsy in the baby. Furthermore, an untreated infection in the mother can cause damage to the placental and fetal membrane. It can cause significant birth injuries, including cerebral palsy if the fetus’s oxygen flow is disrupted, harming the brain’s development. Maternal fever and reduced oxygen flow to the fetus during birth are two additional complications that infections may cause.

  1. Newborn Conditions
  • Macrosomia:  A condition that refers to infants weighing more than eight pounds and thirteen ounces. The condition can cause labor complexities and raises a higher risk of birth injuries in babies who weighs more than average.
  • Preemie: Babies born prematurely—before the thirty-seventh week—are at an increased risk of birth injuries due to underdeveloped muscles and nervous system.
  • Fetal abnormality: Birth injuries are more common in babies born in abnormal fetal positions, such as those with their heads up, buttocks first, or breech.

Lastly, physical damage to the child during labor is another significant risk factor for birth injury.

  1. Medical negligence

When medical practitioners fail to provide the level of care required of them, it is considered medical negligence. It can lead to significant problems during childbirth.

Medical malpractice may occur before, during, or after the delivery of a child.

If a doctor:

  1. Fails to address the risk of birth injuries effectively
  2. Fails to provide appropriate care to the patient. 

And because of this negligence, if the child suffers from a birth injury, parents can file a medical malpractice lawsuit to sue the doctor for negligence.

Types of medical negligence include: 

  • The inability to respond rapidly to potentially life-threatening conditions
  • Missing obvious health issues in either the mother or the infant
  • A lack of follow-up care for the mother and infant following birth
  • When birthing tools such as forceps or a vacuum extractor are misused during labor
  • Forceful labor leading to maternal injury

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that the mother and child require extreme care during pregnancy. Any medical conditions outlined above can result in birth injuries that can last a lifetime. Doctors should take preventive steps to diagnose and treat any underlying maternal conditions to avoid labor complications.

Furthermore, a lawyer should also be contacted immediately by parents whose children have birth injuries that doctors could have prevented. Even though nothing can undo what has happened, parents may be able to get compensation to help with medical bills, lost wages, and long-term disability

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