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Types of birth injuries suffered by newborns and why they happen

| Jul 13, 2021 | Birth Injuries

Sadly, babies in North Carolina suffer birth injuries all the time. If your child suffered these problems during childbirth, you should know your rights and what you can do. It’s also important to know how these injuries can occur.

How do birth injuries happen?

Many newborns experience minor injuries during birth. Most of these can resolve without treatment, but others are more complex. Some babies can experience broken bones or nerve damage. While this is rare, it does occasionally happen. In many cases, birth injuries occur when the baby is very large. If the child is estimated to weigh over 11 pounds or more than 10 pounds if the mother has diabetes, the doctor may recommend a C-section delivery.

Another cause of birth injuries is the fetus in an abnormal position during the birth, such as breech, when the feet come out first instead of the head. However, in most cases, birth injuries occur naturally as a result of labor and delivery.

What are common types of birth injuries?

Injuries to the baby’s head are the most common when birth injuries occur. These types of injuries can include the following:

  • Scalp bruising and swelling: This type of injury isn’t considered serious and resolves after a few days.
  • Scalp scratches: Scratches to the scalp can occur when certain instruments are used, typically forceps or vacuum extractors, to assist a vaginal birth.
  • Bleeding outside skull bones: This injury can result in blood accumulating above or below the outside of bones of the baby’s skull.
  • Cephalhematoma: This is blood accumulation below the periosteum, which covers the skull. This injury resolves on its own and usually requires no treatment. If it becomes red or begins to drain, a doctor should evaluate the child. A hard lump can form, but hair can conceal it.
  • Subgaleal hemorrhage: This injury involves bleeding under the scalp and above the periosteum. It can cause blood loss and shock, requiring a transfusion. The injury is usually caused by forceps or a vacuum extractor and can involve a blood clotting issue.
  • Fractures: A fracture of the skull can occur before or after childbirth. This injury can heal on its own as long as there’s no indentation.
  • Bleeding in or around the brain: This injury is also known as an intracranial hemorrhage and is caused by a rupture of blood vessels. It can be caused during birth but may sometimes occur for unknown reasons.

Who can help?

An attorney might be able to help you if your child suffered birth injuries. If evidence shows that medical malpractice was involved, they could help you prepare your lawsuit so you may be able to recover compensation on behalf of your child.