Birth injuries during childbirth can lead to various physical and neurological complications for the newborn. While modern medical protocols, procedures, and medical equipment can reduce the occurrence of birth injuries, injuries still happen due to a combination of factors, including the following:
Prolonged labor is a leading cause of birth injuries. When labor takes longer than expected, it stresses the baby and the mother significantly. Prolonged labor may be complicated by factors such as the baby’s position in the birth canal or issues with the mother’s anatomy and pelvic structure. This increases the likelihood of birth injuries, as the baby may be deprived of oxygen or experience trauma, especially if the baby’s position causes the baby’s shoulder to get stuck (referred to as shoulder dystocia).
Fetal Presentation and Position
The baby’s presentation and positioning can impact the likelihood of birth injuries. Babies that present in a breech position, meaning feet or buttocks first, or in a transverse (sideways) position may have difficulty passing through the birth canal, leading to birth injuries if not managed appropriately.
Fetal distress occurs when the baby experiences a lack of oxygen or other distress during labor and delivery. It can be caused by issues such as umbilical cord compression, placental abruption, or uterine rupture. Fetal distress requires immediate medical attention to prevent birth injuries or more severe complications, and in some cases, an emergency C-section may be necessary.
Misuse of Medical Instruments
Medical professionals may use instruments such as forceps or vacuum extractors to assist in the birthing process during a difficult birth. While these tools can be beneficial when used correctly, their improper use or excessive force can lead to birth injuries. Injuries caused by the misuse of medical instruments may include facial nerve damage, skull fractures, or brain trauma.
Failure to Monitor and Respond to Complications
Adequate monitoring of both the mother and baby during labor and delivery is crucial to promptly identify and respond to any complications. Failure to monitor vital signs or neglect to respond to signs of distress can result in birth injuries.
Medication and Anesthesia Errors
Medications administered to the mother during labor, such as oxytocin to induce or augment contractions, must be carefully controlled. Errors in dosage or administration can lead to overly strong contractions, increasing the risk of birth injuries. The medical staff must closely monitor the mother and baby during labor to avoid errors. Anesthesia errors during C-sections or episiotomies can also adversely affect the baby.
Babies born prematurely are at a higher risk of sustaining birth injuries due to their underdeveloped organs and fragile bodies. Premature infants may have respiratory, neurological, and other complications that can result in long-term health issues.
Maternal Health Issues
Certain maternal health conditions can increase the risk of birth injuries. A pregnant woman who smokes or drinks during pregnancy or is exposed to toxins such as pesticides increases the risk of birth injuries to her child. Conditions like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or infections during pregnancy can also impact fetal development and increase the chances of birth complications.
Preventing birth injuries requires a wide-ranging understanding of the risks involved in the birthing process, as well as skilled medical care, attentive monitoring, and timely interventions.
Speak with a Fort Lauderdale Birth Injury Lawyer Today
If you and your child experienced any of the above-mentioned issues discussed above or any other birth injury-related issue, you do not have to handle things on your own. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.