Birth injuries are surprisingly common. Did you know that approximately 30,000 babies are born per year in the United States with some form of birth injury? These injuries run the gamut in terms of severity and whether or not they are avoidable. Whether you’re an expecting parent or have had children for some time, it might be wise to familiarize yourself with some of the most common birth injuries. Here are four of the most frequently occurring.
Most people have at least a passing familiarity with cerebral palsy (CP). The most characteristic symptom of this disorder is a reduction in motor ability. It has been estimated that as many as 10,000 children are born with CP every year, which means that it could account for as much as one-third of all birth injury cases.
Still, you should keep in mind that birth injury is not always what causes cerebral palsy. It used to be thought that asphyxiation during traumatic birth caused cerebral palsy in most cases. Still, it turns out that other factors such as maternal infections or congenital defects can cause it as well.
Facial paralysis is one of the most common birth injuries, but far fewer people have heard of it. Also known as facial palsy, this condition is exactly what it sounds like—partial paralysis of a baby’s face due to traumatic birth. Its causes can be both natural and unnatural. For instance, the mother may have a small pelvis, or the baby could be especially large. Just as often though, improper use of forceps by medical professionals causes this birth injury. In this case, it may qualify as medical malpractice.
In most instances, the symptoms of facial paralysis subside with time.
Third on our list of the most common birth injuries is cephalohematoma. This is a fancy word for what amounts to bleeding underneath the scalp. Most commonly, this arises from some form of trauma during birth, such as improper use of forceps.
After your child has been born, you may notice a bump forming on their head. Don’t be too alarmed—in most instances, this issue resolves on its own within a few months. But you should be aware that, in some cases, it can lead to an increased risk of meningitis, jaundice, and other conditions. If this is the case, you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit on your hands.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
Finally, let’s take a look at injuries to the brachial plexus. You may hear the term ‘brachial plexus’ used to refer to the birth injury, but the truth is that everyone has a brachial plexus. In some cases, however, it gets injured during childbirth. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that connects your spinal cord to your appendages. A properly functioning brachial plexus is essential for motor function.
Like with all of our previously mentioned birth injuries, medical malpractice has the potential to cause brachial plexus injuries as well. During an especially strenuous or drawn-out delivery, a negligent medical professional may yank with excessive force when trying to assist the birthing process. At its worst, a severe injury to the brachial plexus during childbirth can lead to a lifelong disability.
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