Common Types of Birth Injuries
We expect that doctors, nurses, midwives, and other healthcare professionals will uphold accepted standards of care during pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. When they breach this duty of care, birth injuries may occur.
Birth injury malpractice happens more frequently than you might think. The most common types of birth injuries are:
Shoulder dystocia is a potentially life-threatening event when one or both of the newborn’s shoulders become stuck in the birth canal. Doctors must work quickly to dislodge the baby from behind the mother’s pelvic bone.
A common result of shoulder dystocia, brachial palsy is nerve damage to the arms and hands. The baby cannot flex or rotate one or both arms due to bruising and swelling. Brachial palsy can be permanent if the nerve is torn.
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affects movement, coordination, development, speech, and in some cases, cognitive abilities. According to the Mayo Clinic, infection, lack of oxygen, or bleeding into the newborn’s brain may cause cerebral palsy.
Bell’s palsy is a neurological condition caused by damaged nerves in the face. It is usually caused by prolonged labor, forceps in delivery, or an overly large baby.
Fractures may occur during a long or difficult delivery or breech birth. The most common fractures occur on the baby’s collarbone, although they can happen elsewhere.
Hypoxia, Birth Asphyxia & Hypoxic-ischemic Encephalopathy
Hypoxia, birth asphyxia, and HIE refer to a lack of oxygen before, during, or after birth. Without proper oxygen, the brain, heart, and other organs cannot properly function. Hypoxia can lead to permanent cognitive and physical impairment.