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Understanding birth injuries

The possibility of your child becoming injured during birth is something you may not wish to think about, but the unfortunate fact is that it does happen. The Birth Injury Guide says that six to eight of every 1,000 babies are born with a birth injury. This article will take a look at a few common questions people have about birth injuries in order to best understand them.


What is a birth injury?

Birth injuries occur when an infant undergoes trauma during birth. Typically, this trauma occurs at the hands of medical professionals, which is why there are many medical malpractice suits surrounding this issue.

During a particularly difficult delivery, or if the doctor is inexperienced, birth injuries may be more prevalent. If the person delivering the child pulls or uses improper instruments in the process, the results can range from mild to severe.

What are common birth injuries?

  • Brachial plexus injury: During birth, if a doctor stretches or pulls on the arm or shoulder too much, the motion may cause damage to the nerves that control the movement and feeling in the arms.
  • Brain injury: If the infant suffers oxygen deprivation during or leading up to birth, the consequences can be severe. A child deprived of oxygen for too long can suffer from long-term disabilities.
  • Bone fractures/breaks: Similar to brachial plexus injuries, if the doctor pulls or twists the child during delivery, bones can be broken or, more likely, fractured.

What are the consequences of birth injuries?

  • Short-term injury: In some cases of birth injury, a child will heal in a relatively swift manner. Fractures often heal within a couple weeks of initial injury, and with therapy, an infant can recover from mild brachial plexus injuries quickly as well.
  • Long-term injury: Cases that are more serious can have long-term, if not lifelong, effects. Severe injury to the brachial plexus can result in long term/ permanent lack of sensation in the arms or hands, as well as limited range of motion. As mentioned above, lack of oxygen can have devastating lifelong effects on the child.

Birth injuries are scary to think about and are even more scary if they happen to your child. However, educating yourself on what they entail and what the consequences can look like may be helpful.

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