Long-Term Birth Injuries and Their Implications
Finding out that your child suffered an injury during the birthing process is a devastating moment for any parent, and unfortunately, it happens too often. It's estimated that over 28,000 birth injuries occur each year, many of which have severe long-term complications.
From lack of oxygen to the fetus to traumatic injury from forceps or other equipment, the causes of these long-term birth injuries show that they can be preventable. If you’re an expecting or new parent, it is crucial to understand which injuries can impact you and your child's life long-term.
Cerebral palsy affects 10% of the children in the United States and is often categorized as a permanent movement disorder due to its effect on one's motor skills. As the condition occurs in certain parts of the brain, children with cerebral palsy can often have difficulty with standing, coordination, and general movement. Cerebral palsy can also cause seizures, obesity, and cognitive development disorders down the line.
While similar in classification, Erb's palsy is more notable for the child's inability to move the arms at all. Contrastly to cerebral palsy, this injury occurs when the nerves in the neck are damaged during birth. Erb’s palsy can also negatively affect bone growth, stamina, and cause muscular atrophy or osteoarthritis.
Generally speaking, both of these are preventable birth injuries, as they require a lack of oxygen or trauma during birth to happen.
Other brain injuries can be common if there is a lack of oxygen during the birth or trauma to the head occurs.
Signs of brain damage from birth can appear at any time from immediately up to years later. Some of these symptoms may indicate that your infant has some form of brain damage:
- Inability to focus or move eyes
- Neck stiffness
- Abnormal spine or facial feature shape
- Inability to sleep laying down
- Total lack of muscle tone or control
These are just a few of the many indicators that can determine if your child suffered a brain injury during birth. Should these go untreated, your child could be more susceptible to mental illness as an adult, have trouble developing at the right rates or lose some functions, or even prematurely die.
Larger or breech babies are likely to experience more fractures or bone breaks during the birthing process. While these may not cause serious concern in older children and adults, bone breaks as an infant can have adverse effects on overall growth and development.
Should a broken bone in a newborn go untreated, your baby may experience a depletion in:
- Spinal health
- Nerve and muscle function
- Brain development as a result of skull fracture
- Growth plate development
Maternal Birth Injuries
A few things that are relatively common but often less discussed are that mothers can also suffer from debilitating birth injuries, some of which can even impact their ability to get pregnant in the future.
Although rare, the most significant maternal birth injury is a ruptured uterus. This is when the uterine wall tears during the pregnancy or birthing process and is most common in women who have previously had a cesarean section.
As this is a life-threatening birth complication for both the mother and fetus, it must be diagnosed and treated quickly. However, it is common for the mother to undergo an emergency hysterectomy following giving birth. This will make her unable to get pregnant again.
Should a doctor not inform you of the complications of vaginal birth after previously having a c-section, it could be a significant liability issue should your uterus rupture. If this occurs, you may need to seek legal representation to make a case.
Contact the Albuquerque Birth Injury Attorneys
James Wood Law has been dedicated to seeking compensation for children suffering from an injury sustained during birth for over 20 years. Our team is committed to combating medical malpractice and medical negligence by aggressively seeking adequate compensation for our clients.
If you or a loved one is looking to make a case for a child or mother’s birth injury, look no further. Contact (505) 906-6774 to schedule a consultation today. Our team is available 24/7 to take your call.