Birth injuries are a prominent and terrifying issue in the U.S., with just under thirty thousand cases occurring annually in the United States.
In this blog post, I focus on some more of the most common birth injuries occuring during labor and delivery. Kreithen, Baron & Carpey provides information on prevalent risks and ailments in order to help parents-to-be prevent a birth injury and stay level-headed during the unfortunate event that a birth injury occurs. Here I focus on brachial plexus injury, spinal cord injury, fractures, and caput succedaneum.
Brachial plexus injury occurs during birth when damage is done to the group of nerves around the infant's spine and shoulders (called the brachial plexus). When damage occurs to the brachial plexus, the child's arms and hands may experience weakness, pain, or loss of movement. Minor cases of brachial plexus injury cause swelling or bruising. Severe cases can cause permanent damage.
A child is at risk for brachial plexus injury if a large amount of stress is placed on the shoulder during delivery. The injury can occur during a head-first and a feet-first delivery. Fortunately, developments in birthing techniques have reduced the number of brachial plexus injuries. Although, occasionally, a brachial plexus injury can do more damage if the spine is placed in jeopardy.
Spinal Cord Birth Injury
When a spinal cord birth injury affects an infant during labor it is usually due to poor use of forceps. Like nerve damage and brain damage injuries, incorrect forceps use can twist a baby's spine. Health complications which result from this type of injury include fractures, numbness, and, most concerning, paralysis. A child who suffers from a spinal cord injury due to a doctor's negligence can be left severely disabled for life.
Infants, with their soft bones, will sometimes suffer from a fracture -- for example, in the femur -- which at first may be difficult to identify. Signs that an infant has experienced a fracture are stiffness, bruising, and the sound of snapping.
A slew of fractures can occur during a complicated delivery. Among the most prevalent infant fractures is the clavicle fracture. The clavicle is another name for the collarbone, and a fracture to this bone can be intensely painful. Fortunately, with good treatment an infant can recover from a clavicle fracture within a few weeks to a month.
A caput succedaneum birth injury amounts to swelling of the infant's scalp. Pre-birth, this injury can be the result of a membrane rupture or lack of amniotic fluids. In these cases, caput succedaneum can be identified via ultrasound as early as thirty-one weeks of pregnancy. In many cases, caput succedaneum happens during a head-first delivery when pressure is placed on the head by the uterus or the wall of the vagina.
As always, I urge you to visit blog category page located on the Kreithen, Baron & Carpey website so that you may find more articles on the topic of birth defects, birth injuries, and more.