Pregnant woman in hospital bed

Birth Injuries: 5 Common Causes

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Childbirth is widely regarded as a joyous event heralding a future of love, growth, and exploration surrounding a new existence. In fact, if you ask a mother about the best day of her life, she’ll likely start listing the dates when her children were born.

People have many ways of preparing for the birth of a child. There’s the fluffy stuff — baby showers, gender reveal parties, cute onesie shopping, negotiating future diaper duties — and then there are the more serious components of preparing for a baby: figuring out a birth plan (natural? medicated? hospital? home?), taking birthing classes, and even doing prenatal yoga to reduce anxiety and improve sleep. 

Unfortunately, a mother can prepare extensively and something can still go wrong. A baby being injured during childbirth is every mother’s worst nightmare, and if you’ve experienced this, you might be entitled to compensation. Here are five common causes of birth injuries

1. Medications 

Some medications can cause birth defects or injury when prescribed to a pregnant mother. Doctors are required to be exceptionally careful when prescribing medications to pregnant women, because medications can be transferred to the fetus via the placenta and can potentially injure the baby. 

Medications that can cause birth injury or defect include:

  • Zoloft
  • Prozac
  • Lexapro
  • Depakote
  • Aleve
  • Excedrin
  • Topamax
  • Zofran
  • Accutane
  • Solodyn 
  • Doryx

However, doctors make mistakes more frequently than you might imagine, and sometimes those mistakes come with severe consequences.

2. Macrosomia

Macrosomia describes infants who are born significantly larger than other infants in their gestational age category (gestational age is the number of weeks a baby has spent in the uterus). 

Macrosomia can cause birth injuries in a few ways — the baby’s broader shoulders can potentially get stuck in the birthing canal, or the baby might experience bone fractures, for example. 

3. Oxygen Deprivation 

Oxygen deprivation during birth is known as birth asphyxia and is defined by a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the infant’s brain. According to Seattle Children’s Hospital, cells require oxygen and nutrients (from blood) in order to function, and without them, harmful acids build up in the cells. 

Birth asphyxia can cause intellectual and learning disabilities, developmental delays, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy. 

4. Forceps or Vacuum Injuries

Operative vaginal delivery is a vaginal delivery in which forceps or vacuum are used in order to help guide the baby out of the birth canal. Forceps are an oversized pair of tongs, while the vacuum is just that — a suction cup. 

Milder forceps/vacuum injuries include bruising and temporary facial palsy, while more severe forceps/vacuum injuries include skull fractures, bleeding, and seizures. 

5. Delayed Childbirth

When a baby is in the birth canal for over 18 hours, that baby is considered to be in fetal distress. The pressure inside the birth canal can crush a baby’s organs, and it’s difficult for oxygen to reach the baby’s brain when it has been in the birth canal for so long. Risks involved in delayed childbirth include spina bifida, autism, and cerebral palsy. 

Seeking Legal Aid for Babies Injured During Birth

Birth injuries can be mild, but they can also be devastating and have ramifications that last well into a child’s adult life. Birth injuries are also often preventable and can be caused by medical malpractice or other human errors. If your baby was injured during birth, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. 

Hunt Law Firm is a premier personal injury law firm serving clients throughout northern New Mexico. Each attorney on Hunt’s dedicated team has a track record of winning successful jury awards for victims, and they will shepherd you through your legal journey with strength, skill, and compassion. Get in touch with our office today.