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Birth Injuries 101: An Informational Guide For Parents

Giving birth is meant to be a joyous occasion, but unfortunately, it does not always go as planned.

If your baby has suffered a birth injury, it can be an extremely difficult and emotional time.

This guide aims to provide key information for parents on common birth injuries, the reasons they happen, and your options if your child was impacted.

An boy and a baby sitting on a white chair.

What Exactly is a Birth Injury?

A birth injury occurs when the baby sustains an injury during labour and delivery. This can be caused by medical errors, such as using forceps improperly, or simply complications that arise, like the baby’s shoulder getting trapped.

Common birth injuries include bone fractures, nerve damage and cerebral palsy. The level of injury can range from mild to severe.

Why Do Birth Injuries Occur?

There are a few reasons why a birth injury may occur:

  • Complications during delivery – Issues like the baby’s shoulder getting caught on the mother’s pelvic bone can cause nerve injuries. The medical term is “brachial plexus.”
  • Oxygen deprivation – If the baby experiences a lack of oxygen during the birth process, it can cause brain damage and cerebral palsy. 
  • Improper use of instruments – Forceps or vacuums may be used incorrectly, causing harm.
  • Medical errors – Mistakes by a doctor or nurse, like not monitoring the baby properly.
  • Large babies – Babies over 8 pounds are at higher risk of shoulder injuries.

No matter what the cause, injuries can have life-long implications for your child. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is key.

Signs of a Potential Birth Injury

As a parent, what signs should you look out for? Red flags your baby may have suffered an injury include:

  • Bruising around the face or head
  • Fractured collarbone or other bones
  • Group B Strep infection present 
  • Seizures
  • Lack of muscle control and movement, like favouring one side
  • Feeding and breathing issues

Any symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible. Early intervention leads to better outcomes. Ongoing medical care is typically required.

Long-Term Effects

Depending on the severity and location, birth injuries can cause disabilities lasting a lifetime. Common long-term effects include:

  • Cerebral Palsy – Impaired muscle coordination caused by brain or spinal cord damage.
  • Brachial Plexus Injury – Nerve damage causing muscle weakness in the shoulder, arm or hand. 
  • Infant Brain Damage – Permanent brain damage affecting development.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries – Harm to the baby’s spinal cord that can cause paralysis.

While these outcomes can be difficult to accept, various treatments are available based on the child’s symptoms, including medications, therapy and surgery. Support groups can also provide comfort and assistance.

If it is determined your child’s injury occurred due to medical negligence, you may want to contact a solicitor who specializes in birth injury cases. They can investigate what went wrong and inform you about your legal rights and options. This should be done as soon as possible before memories fade.

Compensation often cannot fully undo the damage, but it can help provide your child with the care they need. Discover professional legal support for birth injury claims with PA Duffy & Solicitors.

No parent ever wishes for their baby to be injured, especially before they even leave the hospital. If this has happened to your family, open communication with your care providers is essential.

Ask questions, seek second opinions and contact specialists to create the best plan for your little one.

Giving birth usually goes smoothly, but serious and potentially life-altering injuries can occur in rare cases.

As covered in this guide, being aware of the various causes, recognizing symptoms early, and seeking legal counsel if mistakes were made are all vital steps for caring for your child.

Although the road ahead may be long, support and making the most of available treatment options can make a monumental difference.

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