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How does birth trauma occur?

| Mar 24, 2019 | Firm News, personal injury

Despite popular belief, most pregnancies in Kentucky and the greater United States end in successful deliveries. However, that does not mean that all births will go as planned. According to Birth Injury Guide, on average, 29 out of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. will sustain some kind of birth injury during labor. Though birth trauma can occur for any number of reasons, including improper handling of a newborn by medical staff or incorrect use of instruments, there are certain factors that may increase a baby’s risk of sustaining a birth injury.

Birth trauma does not always entail permanent, disabling or life-altering injuries. Sometimes, birth trauma may refer to a fracture or even cut that the baby sustains during the labor and delivery process. Birth trauma is more common in developing countries such as Latin America, Africa and Asia but still occurs in two percent of live births in the U.S.

Though any baby can sustain a birth injury, certain infants exhibit an increased risk for sustaining birth trauma. For instance, larger-than-average babies tend to be more at risk than average to smaller-than-average babies. This is particularly true in cases where the baby’s size is larger than the mother’s pelvic region. The increased risk may be because heavier babies require OB/GYNs to use forceps, their hands or vacuums to aid the baby’s passage through the birth canal. If a doctor uses too much physical force in these situations, he or she may unwittingly cause neonatal injuries.

The Birth Injury Guide cites findings from a Stanford Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital study. According to the findings, the most common circumstances that result in birth injuries are as follows: 

  •       Babies born before 37 weeks of gestation
  •       Infants that weigh more than eight pounds, 13 ounces
  •       Difficult labor or delivery
  •       Wrongly shaped or sized pelvis for safe delivery
  •       Prolonged labor
  •       Abnormal fetal position

The content in this post is for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice.