What Are the Most Common Birth Injuries?
Parents who are expecting a baby don’t expect – and certainly don’t want – complications to occur during birth.
While most births are routine, injuries to newborns are not uncommon. The joy and excitement of welcoming a new baby can turn quickly into a nightmarish medical and legal ordeal.
According to an article on verywellhealth.com, written by Jonathan Cluett, M.D., the birth process itself can lead to a variety of injuries. Mothers deliver babies through a narrow vaginal canal, which can be tricky even during routine deliveries. If the baby is larger than average and the mother has a smaller-than-average pelvis, the injury risk increases. Doctors and midwives must prepare accordingly.
As birth injury attorneys in Georgia, we represent families whose babies have been injured through the negligence of healthcare providers. Some of the most common birth injuries are linked to doctors or other medical professionals who have made errors during the birthing process.
Clavicle fractures or broken collarbones: These types of injuries may occur during deliveries involving larger babies. Birthing professionals should anticipate that a baby over 9 pounds faces a risk of birth injury, especially if the mother has a small pelvis size. They will need to plan for any potential complications and may need to consider delivering the baby by C-section. Sometimes, doctors use forceps or a vacuum to assist in the delivery process, which can lead to an injury if used incorrectly.
Brachial plexus injuries: A baby who suffers a brachial plexus injury generally will experience weakness in an arm. The group of nerves that extend from the neck to the arm is located just below the collarbone. Sometimes a doctor using forceps or an extractor during the birth process to remove the baby may cause the neck to be stretched, which may damage the brachial plexus (the name for the group of nerves). In some cases, the baby will have a permanent loss of movement in the arm.
Growth-plate fractures: Infants may sustain an injury to the growth plate, which is located near the ends of the long bones. The growth plate, which is made up of cartilage, is the last part of the bone to harden. Swelling at one end of the arm or leg is a sign of a growth-plate fracture. A doctor or midwife who repositions a baby during a difficult delivery may cause a growth-plate fracture.
Femur fractures: A broken thighbone, or femur fracture, can occur if the leg is twisted during delivery. While not as common as clavicle injuries, femur fractures can lead to serious problems if not treated properly. A baby with a femur fracture should wear a Pavlik harness, which is a brace to keep the hips and knees bent and the thighs spread apart.
If your baby was injured during birth, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney. A birth injury attorney at Tyrone Law Firm in Georgia can help you determine if negligence played a role in the injury.