Expectant mothers and fathers often worry about their baby’s delivery. What if the child suffers a birth injury? What is a birth injury?
Stanford Children’s Health answers common questions about birth trauma that could indicate medical malpractice. Soon-to-be-parents should understand what to look for after their infant’s delivery.
Causes of birth injuries
There are several reasons why a baby may sustain an injury during birth. The infant may not emerge headfirst from the birth canal, or the baby may be larger than average. Babies born before their due date may experience trauma common to premature birth. Sometimes, the shape of the mother’s birth canal or pelvis makes it difficult for her to deliver a healthy baby. Obesity in mothers, delivering the baby via C-section and an intense labor are additional common causes of birth injuries. When doctors use forceps or a vacuum to deliver a baby, it could harm the child.
Common birth injuries
Some types of birth trauma are more common than others. For example, a fractured collarbone or clavicle happens more often than other birth injuries, and the same is true of bruising or swelling of the head. Applying too much pressure to the baby’s face could cause injury to the facial nerves, and small blood vessels in the infant’s eyes may break. Some infants experience bleeding under the bones of the cranium.
While not every birth trauma qualifies as medical malpractice, parents must know when a medical practitioner or medical facility bears fault for an injury. Doing so helps them protect their rights and their baby’s rights.