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Have you or your baby sustained injuries from childbirth? Birth injuries refer to trauma to the mother or the baby before, during, or after childbirth. While some birth injuries can be prevented or avoided, childbirth is risky and there are multiple things that could go wrong during the process. Minor birth injuries typically require little medical assistance and often resolve on their own. However, more serious injuries can have lasting effects on either the mother or child.

If you or your baby have sustained injuries due to childbirth, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit and could be eligible to receive compensation. Sometimes these injuries could result in death and in this case you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In both instances, these injuries could be avoided if the doctor had provided the proper care.

Risk factors

Because babies are so young and small, they are extremely susceptible to an injury before they are born. There are a number of factors that could increase the chance of the baby or the mother suffering an injury during birth. Your obstetrician should be aware of these risks and do everything possible to prevent causing harm. However, accidents can occur during childbirth which is why it is crucial to understand these risks and the injuries that could be associated with them.

  • Macrosomia- occurs when the size of the baby is larger than the typical size of a baby at its age. The larger size could cause problems because of the pressure the baby experiences during childbirth.
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion - occurs when the size of the mother’s pelvis is not ideal for labor.
  • Breeched delivery- the baby’s position is upside down which means that the baby is much harder to deliver.
  • Short or extended labor
  • Premature babies
  • Deliveries that use forceps or a vacuum
  • Excessive pulling

Birth injuries

Some birth injuries are caused by mistakes made by the doctor who is performing the delivery which is known as medical malpractice. In these cases, the plaintiff must prove that malpractice has occurred and been able to provide an explanation of how the baby or the mother has been affected by the malpractice.

  • Brachial Palsy - occurs when the nerves in a baby’s hand or arm are damaged, restricting movement in the arm. While immobility usually lasts up to a few months, permanent damage could occur if there is a tear in the nerve.
  • Cephalohematoma - occurs during birth and results in a large bump or swelling on the head and sometimes bruising could appear around the bump. This is a fairly common injury that usually resolves in a few weeks but could last up to a few months. Serious cases could result in jaundice.
  • Facial paralysis - occurs when a nerve is affected in the baby’s face during birth, resulting in temporary facial paralysis. This injury typically goes away but more serious cases might require surgery.
  • Fractures - occur when the doctor has trouble delivering the baby. Fractures can seem serious and scary, especially for a newborn, but the injury usually resolves in a few weeks as new bones form.
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage - occurs when a blood vessel in one or both of the baby’s eyes breaks. This forms a red ring around the outside of the iris. The redness typically fades within a few weeks.
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy - occurs when the baby's body does not have enough blood flow during delivery. The intensity of the mental and physical effects on the body depends on the duration of blood and oxygen loss.

How to avoid injuries

Although it is hard to avoid, there are a few steps a mother can take to reduce the risk of complications during birth. Exercising is vital throughout the pregnancy to ensure that the mother is healthy and happy, but it is especially important as the due date approaches. Regular exercise during pregnancy can regulate your body and help you adjust more easily to being in labor.

While general exercise is useful, targeted exercise is necessary to strengthen the pelvic muscles. Avoid anything that could weaken your pelvic muscles such as straining or constipation. Some of the risk factors that come with childbirth could be avoided through a cesarean delivery, but this procedure comes with its own set of risks that could put the mother in danger.

How Barfoot and Schoettker can help you

At Barfoot and Schoettker, we know that having a child is a tremendous experience, and trying to go through the process of filing a lawsuit is too overwhelming on your own. That is why we are here to help you through this stressful time.

While some attorneys only offer services in one area of law, we specialize in criminal and civil litigation. This means that we excel at medical malpractice and wrongful death cases. Our licensed professionals will fight for you every step of the way to ensure that you and your family receive justice for the pain and suffering you have experienced. If you believe that you or your child has suffered from medical malpractice, contact us today for a free consultation.

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