The birth of a child is one of the most highly anticipated events in the life of a couple, as well as for the family members and friends who love them. From the first news of an impending birth, many expectant moms and dads eagerly look forward to doctors’ visits and sonogram appointments, eager to be assured their baby is developing normally.
While many moms get tired of hearing the horror stories from well-meaning friends and loved ones about the rigors of labor, there is always some nervousness about when the big day will arrive, and making sure that labor and delivery go as planned. Unfortunately, birth injuries do occur with alarming regularity, and they cause serious injuries to newborns and heartaches for their parents. You can help protect your growing family against birth injuries by understanding the types of injuries that are common and the factors which could place you and your child at risk.
Five Common Types of Birth Injuries
According to figures from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, approximately 28,000 birth injuries occur each year in the United States. Seven out of every 1,000 babies will suffer some kind of birth related harm, and according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) contributing factors in birth injuries most commonly include slowly progressing labors and prolonged second stage labor, the administering of epidurals, the position of the baby in the birth canal, and the use of forceps or vacuum extraction during delivery. Any one of these factors can present potential problems for the baby, as well as for the mother. According to the Merck Manuals, a widely used physicians’ desk reference, the most common types of birth injuries include:
- Head Injuries: Head injuries often occur due to the use of forceps, as well as from pressure on the baby’s head as it travels through the birth canal. This can cause skull fractures, bleeding in the brain, and the potential for serious brain injuries and trauma, including cerebral palsy.
- Nerve Injuries: Damages to the nerves caused by the position of the baby and the use of forceps in delivery can result in serious damage. Brachial plexus injuries include conditions such as Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy which result in paralysis of the arms or hands, and nerve damage to the diaphragm can make breathing difficult for your newborn.
- Perinatal Asphyxia: This is caused by problems with blood or oxygen flow, and can result in problems with your baby’s breathing or heart rate, and may cause damage to internal organs.
- Bone Fractures: Broken bones in the upper legs and arms, while not common, can present significant hazards to newborns and require the use of casts and splints in order to keep the bone in place so it will heal properly. Clavicle or collarbone breaks are far more common, and can occur as the doctor pulls the baby from the birth canal.
- Shoulder Dystocia: According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, shoulder dystocia is one of the most frightening episodes that can occur during delivery. It occurs when the baby is stuck, with one shoulder out while the other is yet to be delivered. It can cause excessive bleeding in the mother, and is potentially fatal for the baby.
Contact a Skilled Portland Birth Injury Attorney Today
If your child has suffered a birth injury, contact an experienced Portland birth defect lawyer immediately. At the Johnston Law Firm, we understand the devastating impact these injuries have on your family. We can help to hold responsible parties accountable, and assist you in getting the justice your baby deserves. Contact our Portland birth injury attorney today for a free review of your case.