According to the National Healthcare Quality Report, about one out of every 9,714 people in the United States are born with a birth injury. The risk tends to be higher in male infants than female infants. Interestingly, mothers with Medicaid were less likely to experience birth injuries than moms who used private insurance. The birth injury rate was highest for moms using birthing tool-assisted deliveries. Birth injuries were found to be higher in rural areas over urban, but the Northeast United States has about 25 percent higher birth injuries than the South, West, or Midwest. Some experts believe that close to half of all birth injuries could have been avoided simply through identification and planning for the risk factors.
Common Risk Factors for Birth Injuries
- The baby is too big. When the unborn child is too big for the proportionate date or grows heavier than 8 lbs. 13 oz., it can cause birth complications. Fortunately, doctors have many tools to tell the size of the baby and make arrangements to deliver the baby safely.
- The mom is too small. When mom’s pelvis isn’t shaped right to safely deliver the baby, the baby can spend too much time in the birth canal, which can compress the umbilical cord and shut off oxygen to the baby’s brain. It’s an unnecessary risk to both mom and baby. Whether the mom is too small or the baby is too large, it adds time to the delivery and complicates things for everyone involved.
- Abnormal delivery positions, such as breech or a face-first presentation, come with higher degrees of risk during a vaginal birth. Your doctor can easily tell what position your baby is in and make accommodations to prevent birth complications and injuries.
- Premature babies born before 37 weeks of gestation face many difficulties and health hazards. Even with the best prenatal care, birth injuries can still happen during a premature birth. Infants are at a higher risk for fractures, lacerations and oxygen deprivation. When you’re at risk for a premature delivery, follow your doctor’s instructions for rest to give your baby more time to develop.
Dealing With a Risky Situation
When one of these risk factors occurs, the labor process could be elongated, which could lead to brain injuries in your baby. If the baby is in the birth canal too long, a doctor could cause injury by pulling on the baby or using tools, such as forceps, to force the baby out. The immediate signs of a birth injury include vomiting, appearing blue or pale, bulges on the baby’s head, or a lack of breathing. Many times, birth injuries aren’t noticed until the baby fails to develop properly after birth. Your baby might miss those milestones such as crawling, or sitting up alone, or grasping objects, or have poor weight gain or ever speech difficulties.
Each birth injury is unique, and treatment will of course be dependent on your baby’s diagnosis. If your baby has suffered a birth injury, consider contacting McGehee ☆ Chang, Barnes, Landgraf to discuss your case. Remember that the compensation gained from a medical malpractice lawsuit can go a long way toward ensuring that you have the financial resources in place to best handle your child’s medical treatment.