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What risk factors increase the chances of a birth injury?

Birth is not an easy process, and children can be injured. Some injuries are minor, but some can be life-changing, and some children even pass away during childbirth.

There are some risk factors parents and doctors should be aware of. For example, the weight of the baby is very important. A child who is born weighing more than 8 pounds and 13 ounces may have a higher risk than a child with a lower birth weight.

That being said, babies who are too small and born too early can also be at risk. Premature babies who are born prior to the 37-week mark could be more easily injured. Much of this is due to the fragility of a child that small.

The length of the labor plays a large role, as well. Prolonged, difficult labor puts the child at greater risk. Issues like dystocia and cephalopelvic disproportion can factor in. They can simply make it harder for the mother to have a traditional birth, leading to prolonged labor and perhaps the eventual need for a c-section.

Finally, the child's position and direction during birth is important. A child is ideally going to be born with the head facing down. If the head is facing up, it's called a breech birth. This can put the child at greater risk even when a traditional birth is still possible.

Even though doctors may not be able to prevent all of these risk factors from playing a role, it's important that they know how to provide adequate care and reduce the risks of injury as much as possible. If they are negligent and allow an injury to happen, parents may need to know what rights they have to financial compensation.

Source: Stanford Children's Health, "Birth Injury," accessed May 09, 2017

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