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Birth injuries and their causes

Sometimes, during a birth, complications can occur. These complications can often lead to birth injuries. In some cases, these injuries are due to choices that doctors and nurses make in the delivery room. In other instances, they are completely unavoidable.

As an expectant mother, it is important to understand the various types of birth injuries that your child may be as risk for. By knowing about potential dangers beforehand, you can have a candid conversation with your doctor about procedures to avoid birth injuries.

Common causes of birth injuries

A birth injury can happen due to a child's size, position during delivery, and trauma that may have occurred prior to the birth. Babies that weigh over eight pounds are more at risk for an injury, as are those who are born premature. Also, the size of the mother's pelvis may play a role in the potential for a birth injury. For example, a birth injury is more likely to occur in cases where the mother's pelvis is too small in proportion to the child. In addition, an overall difficult birth, longer than average labor, or an unusual birth position, such as breech, can contribute to a birth injury.

Common birth injuries

Brachial palsy and fractures are two very common birth injuries. Brachial palsy tends to occur when there is a problem moving the baby's shoulder through the birth canal. If the nerves are damaged during the process, then the child could lose movement in the affected arm for several months. In very severe cases, the damage can be permanent. Fractures, typically in the clavicle or collarbone, can also happen if there is a problem with the child's shoulder passing through the birth canal. Fortunately, these fractures tend to heal very quickly.

In some cases, these injuries are unavoidable and occur because a doctor improperly uses forceps or other birthing tools during the delivery. If you or your child has suffered an injury due to a doctor's malpractice during the birth process, you may be able to take legal action for your injuries. You should not have to pay additional medical expenses because a doctor or other hospital staff committed medical malpractice.

Source: Stanford Children's Health, "Birth Injury," accessed Oct. 24, 2017

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