A birth injury is any damage to a baby that occurs before, during, or soon after birth. While most of these injuries are minor and don’t require treatment to heal, some are incurable and may leave a child with a disability for the rest of their life. So, if you’re a mommy-to-be who’s pretty concerned about the delivery, you’re at the right place. Here, we’ve listed some common birth injuries that may work as a signal for you to consult a healthcare provider who’s professional, experienced, and who knows their job well. Let’s have a look at the most common birth injuries in newborns.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A spine is an important part of a body since it conveys signals to the brain, allowing it to regulate the body’s limbs. Spinal cord injuries interrupt these signals. This interruption can negatively impact a baby’s ability to move as well as their sense of touch. Spinal cord injuries occur when a baby’s spine is pulled too hard at the time of delivery. This is something to be taken care of because spinal injuries don’t repair. Prompt treatment can help in preventing it from getting worse, but there is no cure yet for spinal cord injuries.
Among numerous types of birth injuries of newborn, this type is relatively common.A brain injury at the time of birth leads to cerebral palsy. This condition negatively impacts a person’s muscle control and is also capable of causing delays in a baby’s development and speech. According to research studies, only 15-10% of individuals develop this condition later in their lives; the other 85% develop it before or at the time of their birth. Medical negligence, lack of oxygen to the brain, heart attack, infection, fever, bleeding in the brain – all contribute to brain injuries that ultimately cause cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, this condition is incurable; treatments can only reduce the existing symptoms to enable individuals (including babies) to live with this condition as easily as they can.
This type takes place when blood accumulates around the tissue near the brain. This pool of blood develops from the bleeding in the skull. This condition causes pressure on the brain and can cause swelling in your baby’s head, brain damage, and seizures. Using forceps or vacuum extractors can lead to this condition. Not only this, but prolonged labor can also cause a baby to develop this condition. While some cases don’t require any treatment to heal, some require surgery to be healed completely. However, there are also chances of permanent brain damage if a severe case is left untreated.
If a baby’s jaundice is not treated timely, it causes a condition called kernicterus. This condition causes a baby to experience trouble eating, severe jaundice, and fatigue. Kernicterus requires an early diagnosis and quick treatment because otherwise, it can lead to brain damage, hearing loss, seizures, and many other health problems.
HIE (Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy)
This type of injury takes place when the provided amount of oxygen (hypoxia) and blood flow (ischemia) is lesser than the amount required by the baby at the time of their birth. There are a number of factors that significantly contribute to the development of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in babies. These factors include umbilical cord prolapse, placental bleeding or disruption, fetus in the wrong position, and unusually prolonged labor. However, HIE affects every baby differently depending upon the severity of the injury.
Brachial Plexus Palsy
Also known as Erb’s palsy, this condition leaves a baby’s shoulder, arm, or hand paralyzed. Damaged brachial plexus nerves lead to this condition. Research studies show that every 10 out of 1000 babies are born with Erb’s palsy. Following are some factors that lead to damaged brachial plexus nerves in babies:
- A baby’s shoulders, neck, or head getting stuck in the birth canal or under the pelvic bone at the time of delivery.
- Tugging a child’s feet in breech (feet-first) delivery.
- Forceful pulling of a baby’s neck or head at the time of birth.
A severe head injury at the time of birth can lead to brain damage in babies that is capable of making them physically and neurologically impaired. A number of factors cause brain damage in newly born babies. These factors include undiagnosed brain infection, umbilical cord choking, physical injuries (caused by head pulling, vacuum extraction, blunt force), bleeding in the brain, and asphyxia. The severity of brain damage determines the future of a baby’s health. While some may recover fully, others may need to live a disability for the rest of their lives.
Birth injuries in newborns can result in life-long disabilities. The majority of these injuries are caused by medical malpractice. Therefore, if God forbid anything happens to your baby, you now know whether to consult a doctor, a healthcare provider, or a lawyer.