Finding out you are pregnant is a moment of great joy. When a mother goes into labor and starts progressing toward the moment of birth, the medical staff’s actions or inactions may determine how the birth occurs. In some instances, the delivery results in an injury to the baby. While many of these are temporary, some more serious ones may result in long-term difficulties. Here are three common types of birth injuries to the newborn that may occur during the labor and delivery process.
1. Head trauma
Some deliveries require intervention to get the baby through the birth canal and out into the world. Otherwise, some babies and mothers may start going into distress if delivery doesn’t happen soon.
Doctors may use tools available to them to get the baby out safely. Forceps and vacuum extraction are two ways doctors help the baby through the birth canal.
However, some of the most serious birth injuries of Newborn babies are caused by trauma to the head. Even though the skull is soft so that it can pass through, too much pressure on it from tools or hands can cause injury.
Head trauma may result in brain injury. That is the most serious consequence of a newborn’s birth injury.
2. More types of birth injuries: Oxygen deprivation
Once a mother goes into labor, there is a limited amount of time within which to deliver a baby. Throughout the pregnancy, the baby has gotten its nutrition and oxygen from the umbilical cord and amniotic fluid. However, once the mother’s water breaks, the fluid disappears.
If delivery takes too long, the baby may start having issues with getting the necessary oxygen. The umbilical cord may become wrapped about the baby, which also cuts off the cord’s oxygen supply.
When a baby doesn’t get enough oxygen, the brain will start to suffer from it. The lack of oxygen may contribute to neurological issues and slowdowns some newborns experience. These may be permanent problems, making them significant, albeit common, types of birth injuries in the newborn.
3. Bone fractures
The bones of a baby are at risk of fracturing during delivery. The most common fractures occur to the collarbone. This is almost always due to delivery.
If the baby’s shoulder lodges on the way out of the birth canal, a doctor may try and pull the infant out. The pulling motion may result in a break of the clavicle. Or, a dislocated shoulder. If the doctor suspects Erb’s Palsey, they may order an X-ray, ultrasound, or another imaging test.
These injuries appear quite serious. However, the good news is they are almost always temporary with few long-term effects.
Final thoughts on types of birth injuries
Some injuries sustained during labor and delivery may last only a short time, while other times the issues will require lifelong medical care. New parents should get the full scope of the existing injury and its consequences before leaving the hospital so they can prepare as well as possible for what lies ahead.
New moms may also struggle following the baby’s arrival. PSTD after birth is one example; our recent guest post explains more about this mental health condition.