Birth injuries are a type of trauma that a newborn suffers during the labor and delivery process. National Institutes for Health (NIH) data shows that only 0.06 to 0.08% of all babies in the United States suffer an injury while they’re being born. Those same statistics also show how less than 2% of babies die from birth injuries each year. Newborns are most vulnerable to getting seriously hurt when they’re traveling within the birth canal.
Certain factors make a baby at risk for suffering a birth injury more than others. They include delivery mechanisms, fetal presentation and maternal factors.
Particularly dangerous delivery methods include ones in which doctors use vacuum extraction or forceps (or both).
Babies who are delivered using vacuums are eight to nine times more likely to be left with a condition called cephalohematoma than those who aren’t born using such a tool. Newborns delivered using forceps have nearly half the chance of developing such an injury. When doctors use both tools to deliver a baby, the newborn’s risk of cephalohematoma increases to 11-12 times that of any other fetus who undergoes an unassisted delivery.
Babies who are born prematurely or who have an abnormal presentation are all at increased risk for a birth injury. These factors can cause a variety of injuries including bruising, lacerations as well as extracranial, intracranial and retinal hemorrhaging.
Macrosomia, or high birth weight, is a particularly dangerous type of fetal presentation that can result in several serious medical conditions including caput succedaneum, clavicle and rib fractures, shoulder dystocia and cephalohematoma. This condition often results from a pregnant mother not closely regulating their gestational diabetes. A baby’s risk of birth injury increases incrementally when a baby weighs over eight pounds.
There are many different types of birth injuries. There’s Erb’s and Klumpke’s paralysis, intracranial hemorrhaging, brachial plexus injuries and hematomas and many others. One of the best things that you can do if you or your baby have been injured during childbirth here in Redwood City is to consult with a medical malpractice attorney. Your lawyer can review your case to see if negligence occurred and advise you of your right to seek compensation in California if that’s what’s happened.