Nobody wants their beautiful bouncing baby to suffer during or after birth. Yet, birth injuries are common due to a multitude of reasons. And they not only affect the infant. The mother can be harmed as well. Just how common are birth injuries? Approximately 6 to 8 out of every live births suffer some form of obvious or serious injury. Birth injuries are also responsible for approximately 2% of stillbirths nationwide. Numerous birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice and if that occurs, it’s essential to act fast to secure the financial assistance you’ll need for the distress and ongoing medical treatment, so you can take care of your child’s needs. But what are the risk factors and causes of potential birth injuries?
Maternal Age and Weight
Extreme maternal age on either side of the coin can lead to birth complications, especially preterm labor. But mothers over the age of 35 are especially high-risk. A major national study concluded also that overweight or obese women often have a far more difficult time with natural labor. Obese women tend to gain a significant amount of weight during the gestational period. The study concluded that that failed natural labor increased from 15% in normal weight mothers to 30% in obese mothers and reached almost a 40% failure rate in extremely obese mothers. Labor failure can require potentially harmful inducement medications and c-sections, both of which may lead to birth injuries.
According to the CDC, almost 30% of all U.S. births are cesarean deliveries. While a c-section can be complication-free, all abdominal surgeries are high-risk. This is especially true for both the mother and fetus during cesarean delivery. While most birth injuries clear up relatively quickly, some may require extra care and treatment. One wrong move during a c-section can result in maternal complications such as adhesion, infection, organ injury, hemorrhage or excessive blood loss, and extended recovery or hospitalization, emotional trauma, and even maternal fatality. Infant complications can include breathing problems, premature birth, low APGAR scores, and cuts or other minor to serious injuries during the procedure.
Low birth weight and underdeveloped lung formation can lead to low oxygen for the fetus during delivery. A prolapsed umbilical cord and complications or extended delivery during fetal malpresentation (breech birth) can also lead to oxygen deprivation. Lack of oxygen or blood flow at birth can cause neurological problems that lead to permanent injury or lifetime conditions such as autism or cerebral palsy. Almost twenty percent of the injuries responsible for CP occur during or right after birth and most can be completely avoided.
Delivery Circumstances and Malpractice
Experienced physicians and medical professionals are trained to avoid causing unnecessary damage or injuries to their patients. But lack of communication or other unsafe behaviors can lead to aggressive delivery practices or medical malpractice. Accidents happen, but obvious lack of attention or aggression during the birthing process can lead to delayed birth, oxygen deprivation, and blunt force trauma. Whether the aggression or mistreatment is due to medical instruments like forceps and vacuums or it’s simply due to miscommunication, a competent birth injury lawyer can help you get the justice you need and deserve.