What are the Most Common Causes of Birth Injuries?

A crying baby against a white background beneath the words "Causes of Birth Injuries"

Babies are delicate, and improper delivery can cause them severe and debilitating injuries. Unfortunately, medical malpractice is all too common when a baby is being delivered, which can cause injuries that will affect your child for the rest of their life. If the medical professional delivering your baby would just make sure to take the proper steps, then your baby would likely not suffer from birth injuries. Here are the most common mistakes doctors make that cause birth injuries:

1. Failure to Monitor for Fetal Distress

Fetal distress is when issues arise that may compromise a baby’s health in the womb or prevent a baby from being delivered properly. Such issues include:

  • The umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck

  • The baby is too large, or the mother’s pelvis is too small

  • A breeched baby (baby that is positioned feet first instead of head first)

  • Maternal or fetal infection

  • Fetal heart rate problems

These issues may cause oxygen deprivation which causes a variety of issues, such as Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, permanent brain damage, cerebral palsy, or developmental disabilities. Failure to monitor for fetal distress may even lead to the infant’s death if these issues are not discovered quickly enough.

To avoid issues related to fetal distress, a medical professional should be monitoring the baby throughout the entire birthing process. If any complications arise, an emergency C-section should be ordered immediately. Sadly, doctors do not always monitor for fetal distress, which puts babies at great risk for birth injuries.

2. Forcible Delivery

If a baby cannot be delivered safely, the best option is a C-section. Unfortunately, some medical professionals opt instead to force a vaginal birth. It is possible that vaginal birth seems possible, but complications end up arising. In any case, there are safe ways to encourage a vaginal birth.

When a baby is not coming out correctly during a vaginal birth, a doctor may twist or pull the baby improperly. They may also opt to use birth assisting tools such as a vacuum or forceps. Both of these tools are dangerous and put the baby at high risk of injury. A doctor should always take care to order a C-section in time or encourage vaginal birth safely in order to avoid injury to the baby.

3. Head Trauma during Delivery

The younger your baby is, the more fragile their head is. Because of this, a medical professional should take care to carefully handle your baby’s head during delivery and immediately afterwards. Pulling on the infant’s head or other mistakes can lead to serious head trauma.

Head trauma during birth can lead to severe injuries, such as:

  • Cerebral palsy

  • Physical and developmental delays

  • Hematomas

  • Brain damage

  • Damage to the nervous system

4. Labor-Inducing Drugs

Labor-inducing drugs such as Pitocin or Cytotec are not always safe for use. For example, if a mother is allergic to the drug or is given too much of it, it can severely compromise the health of both her and the child. Improper use of labor-inducing drugs often leads to traumatic birth injuries, which most commonly affect the brain, nerves, spine, and bones.

5. Prematurity

Premature birth is not always preventable; however, in many cases, it is. If a doctor determines that premature birth would be harmful to the mother or child, there are often steps they can take to delay the birth. Certain medications such as terbutaline and brethine may stop the contractions. They should then address any issues that make the premature birth dangerous, such as underdeveloped lungs or infection.

If your baby suffered from birth injuries due to the negligent behavior of a medical professional, contact Branch & Dhillon, P.C. Their personal injury lawyers can help you receive the compensation that you deserve for any injuries inflicted on your baby.