Sometimes during the birth process, a baby suffers a physical injury that is simply the result of being born. This is called birth trauma or birth injury. A difficult birth or injury to the baby can occur because of its size or its position during labor and delivery.
The following conditions may be associated with a difficult birth:
• Large babies (birth weight over 8 pounds, 13 ounces)
• Babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy
• Mother’s pelvis being too small for the baby to be born vaginally
• Prolonged labor
• Breech (buttocks-first) delivery
Some babies may show bruising on the face or head after the trauma of passing through the birth canal, and contact with the mother’s pelvic bones and tissues. Forceps used to aid the delivery can leave temporary marks or bruises on the baby’s face and head. Vacuum extraction may cause some babies to have bruising or cuts on the scalp.
Cerebral palsy is a disorder in which damage to the brain’s motor areas impairs one’s ability to control movement and posture. It affects one in every 2,000 infants, and half a million Americans are living with some form of cerebral palsy.
Erb’s palsy occurs with injury to the brachial plexus (the group of nerves going to the arms and hands). It is most common when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder; this is called shoulder dystocia. Many cases of Erb’s palsy clear up in a day or less. In the case of bruising and swelling around the nerves, movement usually returns within a few months. Most serious are those in which tearing of the nerve results in permanent nerve damage.
It is important for parents to understand what caused their infant’s cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy. Too often, these injuries might have been prevented had a doctor not acted negligently before and during the birth.
The experienced birth injury attorneys at Hissey Kientz can help you determine the right course of action for your family. If your child shows signs or symptoms of birth injury, call us toll-free at (866) 275-4454 or fill out a free online case evaluation form to the right of this page.