In a previous blog, we discussed different tips expecting mothers can take to protect themselves and their babies from birth injuries. However, to more effectively safeguard yourself and your unborn child from harm during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, you need to know which injuries you and your baby could face.
Below, we discuss the most common types of birth injuries your child could sustain, as well as the conditions you are at risk for. Read on to learn which types of injury you and your baby could face so you can reduce your chances for injury.
Injuries to Your Child
Most birth-injury-related medical malpractice cases are filed due to an injury the baby sustains at some point during pregnancy, labor, or delivery.
This condition can develop at any point during pregnancy and delivery. This term refers to a condition in which your child is deprived of oxygen. asphyxia can cause unconsciousness and suffocation. If not diagnosed quickly and accurately, asphyxia can lead to death.
A fetus can become asphyxiated in one of the following ways:
- The umbilical cord wraps around his or her neck
- The child is left in the birth canal for an extended period of time
- The mother’s blood pressure drops suddenly
Symptoms of asphyxia include decreased responsiveness, poor coloring, low blood pressure, and difficulty breathing.
Brachial plexus typically occurs during delivery, when the upper portion of the arm becomes injured. Usually, the arm becomes injured when the baby’s shoulders get stuck in the birth canal.
Different forms of brachial plexus include Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy. Erb’s palsy affects the nerves in the upper portion of the arm, while Klumpke’s palsy affects the lower nerves.
Symptoms of brachial plexus include weakness or inability to use the arm and a burning sensation in the affected area. As a parent, however, you’ll only be able to notice a weakness in your child’s arm. You may also notice that he or she cannot use it properly as he or she develops.
In a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cerebral palsy is the most common disability that children face. In fact, the report states that about 3 children in 1,000 will be affected by the condition.
The condition usually develops due to a brain injury the baby sustained during pregnancy or delivery. You may have a case if your child sustained a brain injury in the following ways:
- Doctors failed to diagnose asphyxia accurately and quickly.
- Physicians and hospital staff caused or failed to diagnose damage to the white matter tissue in the child’s brain.
- Doctors overlooked abnormal brain development, brain hemorrhages, or brain malformations.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy include muscle tone issues, lack of coordination, excessive drooling, difficulty with sensory skills, delayed speech development, and thrashing movements.
In addition to the injuries listed above, your child could also develop the following injuries:
- Hydrocephalus, which is the accumulation of excessive cerebrospinal fluid in the brain
- Hypoxia, where muscle tissue receives inadequate amounts of oxygen
- Intracranial hemorrhaging, where there is bleeding in the skull
- Paralysis, where the nerves become damaged and the child is unable to use part or all of his or her body
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), which causes difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, heart murmurs, and cyanosis
Sometimes, however, your child could sustain injury after delivery. Other medical malpractice issues your child could face include:
- Staff mishandling the newborn, which can cause broken bones, fractures, and lacerations
- Nurses administering the incorrect type or dose of medication
- Staff members using defective or incorrect machinery and devices
Some injuries can also cause your child to develop high blood pressure, stress, or hypertension.
Injuries to You
Even though your child is more likely to sustain an injury, you are also at risk for the following pregnancy-, labor-, and delivery-related issues:
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Broken bones
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Unnecessary vaginal tears and lacerations
If a doctor must perform a C-section to safely deliver your baby, you could also sustain an injury during the procedure. Some common medical malpractice errors associated with C-sections include an incorrectly performed procedure, incorrect dosage of anesthesia, and staff negligence that led to trauma or injury.
As you go throughout your pregnancy and prepare for delivery, familiarize yourself with the common types of birth injuries you and your baby could sustain. Before your due date arrives, choose a qualified doctor who can safely deliver your baby and keep you healthy during labor and delivery.
Should you or your baby sustain an injury at any point during pregnancy or delivery, contact a medical malpractice attorney. We can advocate for you and fight for your right to receive just compensation.
For more information about how lawyers can assist you with a number of legal matters, read through the rest of our blog.