Excited and overly eager parents often dream of extending their family for years and spend the entire pregnancy hoping and planning for an uncomplicated delivery. Of course, everyone knows that’s not always possible. Unexpected situations occur and anything from miscommunication to aggressive delivery practices can lead to serious or unforeseen childbirth complications. Around 6-8 out of every 1,000 infants, or one in 9,700 newborns, are born with serious birth injuries. And while that’s scary on its own, what’s even scarier is that many of those injuries are completely avoidable. Parents who arm themselves with that knowledge are more likely to help provide a barrier to serious childbirth complications. But what are the common childbirth injuries that occur in the delivery room?


Brachial Plexus Palsy

Fetal delivery is often complicated by the positioning, size, and control challenges involved in the procedure. Doctors are fully trained to handle these issues, but one slip can change the entire outcome. A network of nerves that lies at the base of an infant’s neck controls feeling, function, and mobility in most of the baby’s upper body. This nerve cluster is called the brachial plexus. These nerves can be easily injured during delivery if they’re accidentally pinched, strained, or broken. Pulling on the infant’s shoulder, excessive pressure on the infant’s head and too much pressure on raised arms during breech delivery can lead to a permanent mobility damage and weakness in the upper extremities called Brachial Plexus Palsy.


Injuries from Forceps and Vacuum Extractor

An infant’s bones are soft and pliable during birth, and that presents a serious challenge during a difficult delivery. Medical equipment such as forceps and vacuum extractors are sometimes used to help the doctor grip the fetus during birth. However, if the grip is too tight, in the wrong area, or slips, bruises, abrasions, and fractures can occur. The good news is that these injuries are often short-lived and usually heal within a couple weeks. One telltale sign that a fracture occurred is the infant’s ability to move a specific limb after the delivery.


Oxygen Deprivation

Hypoxia and anoxia are common brain injuries developed by lack of oxygen to the fetus during birth. Hypoxia is a partial lack of oxygen at birth. Anoxia, on the other hand, is a complete lack of oxygen. Brain cells die when the brain’s starved of air and blood flow for four minutes. Motor impairment, personality issues, speech concerns, seizures, learning disabilities, and sensory disruption may be signs of an oxygen-related brain injury. Devising the best form of treatment is often difficult since each case is different, but full recovery of severe hypoxia or anoxia is rare.


Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a brain injury that can have an array of causes including blunt trauma, infection, and lack of oxygen. Severe hypoxia is a common cause of CP. Most cases of CP are present from birth, and some signs are often obvious right away. However, an official diagnosis of the condition can take up to five years from birth. Cerebral Palsy impairs speech, muscle function, and motor skills. It is not retardation and should not be confused with that. However, it may lead to learning and behavioral difficulties. There is no cure for CP and treatment can be expensive. The right birth injury attorney can help you get the restitution needed to focus on the extensive needs of your child.