Birth trauma or injury impacts 29 out of 1,000 babies in the United States per year. Trauma is defined as cuts, fractures or any other injury that occurs during the birthing process. The injuries can occur between labor or delivery, and at least 2% of live births in the US suffer from some form of physical injury.
A study found that there are certain conditions that increase the risk of birth injuries:
- Weight of 8 lbs. 13 ounces or higher
- Babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy
- Prolonged labor
- Difficult labor
- Fetal position abnormalities
The baby’s head, shoulders and neck suffer the most injuries, especially when the baby is born in the head-first position. The most common injuries that babies suffer from during labor or birth are.
1. Caput Succedaneum
Caput Succedaneum which is a condition where the scalp swell during or after birth. The vaginal wall or pressure from the uterus cause the scalp to become bruised. This is often a sign of a prolonged labor.
Cephalohematoma is a condition where blood will form below the protective membrane in the baby’s skull. The condition is not fatal and will often go away on its own.
Bruising can occur on all parts of the baby’s body, but the face and head are the most common. The bruising is caused by the stress of coming through the birth canal and coming in contact with the mother’s pelvis bone or tissue. Tools used during the birthing process can also be the cause of bruising.
4. Broken Bones
Broken Bones are caused for many of the same reasons as bruises. Doctors can cause broken bones with the tools they used during birthing, and there are times when tugging on the baby leads to broken bones.
5. Brachial Plexus
Brachial Plexus is another common injury wherein the network of nerves that connect the arms and legs to the spinal cord are damaged. In the most severe of cases, the baby may suffer from permanent nerve damage.
6. Oxygen Deprivation
Oxygen Deprivation can cause severe side effects and often occurs when the placenta separates from the baby too early. The umbilical cord can also wrap around the baby’s beck, causing a reduction in oxygen flow to the brain.
Birth injuries are common, and while most will heal on their own and pose no long-term risks. Other forms of birth injuries can cause lasting side effects, and in some cases, death can also occur.
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