A recent study found that, per year, there are 28,000 cases of birth injuries occurring in the United States. That translates to more than 2,000 birth injuries every month and more than 500 every week. The causes of birth injuries are many and varied, and the information to be provided on the subject can be dense.
Cephalohematoma amounts to bleeding which occurs beneath the cranial skin. A lump on the child’s head is often an indication that this injury has occurred. Often, cephalohematoma occurs due to vacuum extraction during the birthing process. Luckily, the injury requires little to no treatment and will usually subside on its own after some days, weeks, or even months. Cephalohematoma is not to be confused with subdural hematoma, which is a collection of blood forming on the brain surface. Subdural hematomas pose more serious threats to a child’s health.
Nerve Damage and Brain Damage Caused by Poor Use of Forceps
Forceps can be essential during a particularly difficult birth. If, for example, the birth canal is poorly positioned or the infant is unusually large, a forceps might be the only means to extract the child. However, even though a forceps can save a child's life, incorrect use of the instrument can result in serious injuries for the child. If the tool places too much pressure on the child's face, for instance, then nerve damage can occur. Occasionally, the injury is permanent, causing the child's face to be asymmetric. This is also known as facial nerve palsy.
More serious than facial nerve palsy, improper use of forceps can cause damage to the child's brain, resulting in Cerebral Palsy. If this happens, the child may experience impaired motor control. Children can also suffer from Cerebral Palsy if they are born prematurely, acquire any infections during pregnancy, don’t receive enough oxygen in the womb, or suffer from asphyxia during delivery. Most times, symptoms of Cerebral Palsy do not get worse as the child grows. Furthermore, the child can improve the condition through rehabilitative exercises.