What is a birth injury and what are some common causes?

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For new parents living in Ohio or elsewhere, bringing children into the world can set off a roller coaster of emotions. This is a time that is joyful and special, but feelings of excitement can be overcome with worry — including about whether both mother and child will make it through the process of labor and delivery free of complications. Unfortunately, complications do occur during the birthing process. Some of these complications, if not handled sufficiently by medical staff, can result in a birth injury.

A birth injury, by definition, is a physical injury that occurs during delivery. There are a number of issues that can contribute to a birth injury. Some of these include:

  • Baby’s body position in the womb
  • Size of the baby
  • Premature birth
  • Prolonged labor
  • Use of birthing assistive devices (foreceps or vacuum)

While some birth injuries cause minor issues that infants can quickly recover from, some can have life-threatening consequences or result in the need for long-term care. Common birth injuries include bruising of the head, bone fractures and nerve damage. In severe cases, lack of oxygen or serious nerve damage are just a few of many possible issues that can lead to brain damage, severe pain, paralysis or even death.

Ohio parents rely on medical staff to help them through the birthing process, and trust that if complications arise appropriate decisions will be made to help avoid or minimize potential injuries. Sadly, mistakes are made and a birth injury may occur. If this happens, parents retain the right to take legal action. Personal injury and medical malpractice claims can be filed against those believed responsible for the injury. These claims, if handled effectively, can result in an amount deemed appropriate to recoup any monetary losses suffered and to provide for the current and future needs of the child.

Source: urmc.rochester.edu, “Birth Injury“, Dec. 10, 2014