Parents anticipate giving birth to a healthy baby, but at times, the worst may happen, and they deliver injured or unhealthy babies. A birth injury is any harm to the baby during and after delivery. Such injuries can affect the baby’s internal systems, with impacts ranging from mild cases to lifelong injuries.
Causes of birth injury may vary according to various factors such as medical negligence, the baby’s condition during birth, and the mother’s health condition. Many cases of birth injuries are caused by medical negligence.
Fetal –Related Cases
The fetus’s positioning during birth can cause various birth injuries. Some birth injuries can be prevented by birth attendants and mothers, while others may be unforeseen. Some fetal causes of birth injuries are;
- If a baby is born through vaginal delivery and presents itself in a breech or feet in the first position, it can experience oxygen deprivation or develop an infection.
- Babies with a large head that prolongs or delays delivery
- If a baby is larger than average (macrosomia)
- Placental disruptions and uterine rapture
Mother –Related Factors
An expectant mother should take lots of care during pregnancy and delivery. The factors related to mothers which may cause birth injuries including;
- Untreated infections which may affect the baby
- Obesity and diabetes
- The unusual shape of the pelvis may make delivery harder or prolonged.
Medical practitioners should observe the mother and the baby during labor and delivery. In case of delivery complications, the physician should act quickly to contain the problem. In some cases, doctors may fail to follow the right medical procedures, called medical negligence. Birth injuries caused by medical negligence include;
- Inappropriate use of delivery instruments such as forceps while assisting mothers during vaginal births.
- Use of improper birth techniques during delivery
- Inappropriate use of Pitocin or Cytotec drugs which are used to induce labor
- Physician’s failure to detect fetal distress during a heart monitor and act accordingly.
- When a doctor delays or fails to order a necessary C-section.
- Delays in any necessary treatment after delivery
- Failure to address the risks associated with premature births
- Doctor’s failure to detect conditions such as jaundice after childbirth.
The above causes may lead to conditions such as;
Spinal Cord Injuries: If a baby is pulled during birth, it may develop spinal cord injuries. In most cases, these injuries are irreversible, so the doctors should avoid them at all costs.
Newborn Jaundice: A baby with newborn jaundice appears yellow on the skin, caused by bilirubin buildup.
Erb’s palsy occurs when too much force is applied to the baby’s head and neck, which leads to damaged brachial plexus nerves.
Kernicterus: The conditions come as a result of untreated or improperly treated jaundice.
Cerebral palsy: This condition is caused by bleeding in the brain, head injury, placenta abruptions, and umbilical cord issues.
Intracranial hemorrhages: It occurs when the head experiences trauma which causes brain bleeding.
Risks associated with a birth injury can vary from mild to severe. Some injuries can be prevented while others are unforeseen. Therefore, it is every concerned party to make sure the baby comes out healthy.