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Brain Injuries at Birth

Although the rate of brain injuries at birth is decreasing because of developments in fetal monitoring technology, birthing methods and an increased awareness of the risks, brain injuries at birth still happen. Brain injuries at birth occur when the baby is of a large size and when the baby is not oriented correctly inside the birth canal. Brain injuries at birth occur because the baby does not receive adequate oxygen or blood to the brain, or because obstetric instruments or excessive pressure traumatizes the baby’s head. The use of obstetric instruments such as forceps or vacuum extractors can exacerbate or be the primary cause of brain injuries. Personal injury attorneys can help advise you of your rights and any compensation you might be entitled to if your child suffered a brain injury at birth.

A baby’s head is the first body part to enter the birth canal during birth, and therefore receives the most pressure. Too much pressure can lead to brain injuries. Some babies receive minor swelling and bruising, which disappears a few days after birth. Sometimes, bones of the skull can fracture. Ultrasounds and other monitoring devices can help detect whether a baby is too large or not oriented in the birth canal correctly, and then a decision can be made about whether to perform a Cesarean section. Cesarean sections can help reduce the chances of brain injuries at birth.

Mothers who have gestational diabetes also have an increased risk of their babies suffering from a brain injury, because the mothers’ placentas do not correctly or adequately deliver blood flow and oxygen to the baby. It is important that doctors test mothers for gestational diabetes and take the appropriate steps to minimize the risk of a brain injury at birth. If a doctor fails to adequately test the mother and the child, a medical malpractice attorney will be able to inform you of your rights and answer your questions.

There are many effects of brain injuries at birth. Cerebral palsy can develop after a baby receives a head injury. The most frequent cause of cerebral palsy is a decreased flow of oxygen and/or blood to the brain. Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormalities in the brain that permanently affect movement of the body and control of the muscles. Babies with more serious brain injuries can remain in a persistent vegetative state throughout life. Babies with less serious brain injuries can have difficulty learning, concentrating, speaking and remembering.

Most brain injuries at birth can be prevented if doctors:

·        Recognizes the signs of fetal distress during labor and takes appropriate actions

·        Takes appropriate steps when shoulder dystocia occurs (shoulder dystocia is when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck and delivery is interrupted)

·        Properly use obstetric instruments like forceps and vacuum extractors

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