Everyone trusts medical practitioners to keep both the mother and your unborn child safe during childbirth. However, what’s supposed to be a wonderful and memorable time can become a tragedy.
Over 300,000 babies suffer from birth injuries in the US. While most injuries result in minor cognitive and physical injuries, others can be catastrophic. Here’s a look at common birth injuries, diagnosis, treatment, and how they impact families and kids in Pittsburgh, PA.
What’s a newborn birth injury?
A childbirth injury is any harm that affects your baby before, during, or shortly after the delivery. Some newborns in Pittsburg, PA, do suffer minor injuries during delivery. And most birth injuries heal naturally without treatment. Some cases require prompt treatment. Unfortunately, some serious birth injuries have no cure, and your child might have to live with a disability.
After seeking medical advice, you can consider taking legal action for the childbirth injury and seeking financial compensation.
Common types of birth traumas in Pittsburg, PA
Below are popular types of injuries that can result from childbirth trauma in Pittsburg, PA:
The nervous system links the body with the brain via channels and nerves. Physical trauma can damage these pathways as the baby struggles to pass through the birth canal. Neonatal brachial plexus injury is the most common type of nerve injury during childbirth. The injury causes neonatal brachial plexus palsy, which affects the brachial plexus nerves running through the baby’s shoulder to the spine.
Brachial plexus nerve damage occurs when a baby is stuck in the birth canal. However, nerve injuries at childbirth can also happen due to medical conditions like Erb’s palsy.
The human brain requires constant blood and oxygen flow to function correctly. When the blood or oxygen supply is interrupted, the brain cells can die. Unfortunately, the dead cells don’t regenerate.
Childbirth complications can cut off the blood and oxygen supply to the baby’s brain. You must act quickly and resolve the issue to avoid serious brain damage. Some brain injuries might cause severe disabilities and irreversible medical conditions like cerebral palsy.
Causes of brain damage in newborns include:
- loss of oxygen (Asphyxia)
- Bleeding in the brain
- Umbilical cord chocking
- Physical injuries from vacuum extraction, pulling on the head, and blunt force
- Undiagnosed brain infection
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spine gives the baby’s body support and form. It also transmits signals to the baby’s head, helping to control body limbs freely. However, a spinal cord injury interrupts these signals and hinders your child’s ability to move and touch.
Spinal injuries in newborns occur due to difficult labor and delivery and affect about one child out of 8,000 births. Due to its rarity, medical practitioners might overlook the possibility of this neonatal birth trauma.
Neonatal spine damage is irreparable. Symptoms can be catastrophic or mild, like weakened upper limb movement, swallowing dysfunction, and hoarse voice. Your doctor should initiate neuroprotective therapy immediately to prevent further damage.
Intrauterine Fetal Demise (Stillbirth)
A stillbirth occurs when the fetus dies before birth. The birth trauma rate for intrauterine fetal demise is 1 out of every 100 births in the US.
Possible risk factors include:
- Genetic factors
- Umbilical cord prolapse
- Being pregnant with twins or multiple babies
- Maternal diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure
Birth Injury vs. Birth Defect
According to the CDC, congenital disabilities, or birth defects, typically develop while the baby is in the womb, mostly during the first trimester. Drug interactions, untreated infections, and family medical history are potential causes.
The national vital statistics report describes birth injuries as impairing a child’s body structure or function during childbirth. That includes various major and minor injuries caused by different mechanical forces.
What causes birth injuries?
A birth injury can occur due to maternal health issues, fetal health issues, or external problems such as medical negligence or malpractice. Unfortunately, it’s hard for families to pinpoint the cause of an injury to their newborn.
Fetal Health Risk Factors
- blood flow loss and oxygen deprivation
- a child born feet-first during vaginal delivery
Maternal Health Risk Factors
- the mother’s pelvic bones have an abnormal shape
- maternal infection
- maternal obesity
Birth Injury Diagnosis, Prognosis & Treatment
While it’s possible to discover birth injury after delivery, most children aren’t diagnosed until a few weeks or years later. Doctors and parents will notice the damage after the baby suffers from abnormal development or developmental disabilities.
After the diagnosis, the doctor will give you a birth injury prognosis to understand the expected outcome. However, your child’s condition might change depending on the birth injury treatment and the current situation.
For instance, a child born with Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus birth palsy often recovers fully from their condition. However, a child with cerebral palsy, intracranial hemorrhage or spinal injuries might require lifelong medical care.
The treatment might include:
- physical or occupational therapy
- adaptive equipment
- speech therapy
- corrective surgery
Living With Severe Birth Injuries
A child’s birth injury might cause minor inconvenience or permanently change your child’s life and your family. For instance, many birth injuries that affect your child’s brain tissue might cause a permanent head injury. That might require the child to rely on family to lead active and fulfilling lives.
Physical therapists can assist with minor injuries, teaching your family members how to perform exercises at home when raising a child with muscle problems. However, severe injuries might require adaptive equipment like speech aids and wheelchairs.
Depending on a child’s injuries, their needs’ physical, emotional, and financial demands might be draining. Parents can seek legal aid for a child that suffers preventable birth injuries due to medical malpractice.
Victim of birth injury in Pittsburg, PA? We can help you obtain full and fair compensation
Brachial plexus injuries can result in lifelong disability. The good news is you can file a claim for childbirth injury malpractice and get compensated. Call (412) 291-9377 for a free initial consultation in Pittsburg! Frischman & Rizza P.C is a trusted personal injury partner law firm committed to helping clients get the settlement to manage injuries sustained during the birthing process.