A birth injury can be defined as a physical injury that the baby suffers during the birth process. As per statistics, the incidence of birth injuries is fairly common. Normally, birth injuries are minor and can heal without any medical treatment. However, major birth injuries require immediate attention to minimize any complications that may contribute to the child’s decreased quality of life. This article aims to provide an insight into the causes of birth injuries as well as some steps you, as a parent, can take to ensure a positive prognosis for your child.
Causes of Birth Injuries
There’s no “one” cause of birth injuries. Numerous factors like genetics and environment can play a part in the type and severity of the injury. One of the most prominent factors that contribute to birth injuries is the conduct of the healthcare facility itself. Essentially, all healthcare providers are required to comply with a code of standards. This means that the hospital staff must strive to ensure that what they do results in favor of a patient. Failure to do so may risk the patient developing an injury that may have been preventable in the first place. It may even put the facility at risk for legal prosecution. Read further to find the types of birth injuries and their possible causes.
One of the most common birth disabilities found in children is cerebral palsy (CP). Studies suggest that the prevalence of cerebral palsy is 1 to 4 children for every 1000 live births. Cerebral palsy is a motor disability that affects the child’s ability to move, maintain balance and posture. Luckily, there is a ton of information on how to support a child with cerebral palsy available online.
There are many factors that contribute to CP. One, in particular, is hypoxia, which is reduced levels of oxygen in the baby. A baby may be susceptible to hypoxia via infections, uterine ruptures, or placental tears. The lack of oxygen interferes with the development of the brain, ultimately causing motor disabilities like CP.
Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
Another common birth injury includes meconium aspiration syndrome, which is when the infant ingests meconium (fetal poop) along with amniotic fluid. Since a baby’s lungs aren’t strong enough to remove waste, they tend to become partially or completely blocked. This may happen before or during birth and may put the baby at risk for a serious infection.
During a difficult birth, doctors may be compelled to use equipment like forceps or a vacuum to help make the delivery easier. When using these, extreme precaution is required as they can easily cause birth injuries like brachial plexus injuries and cranial fractures.
Signs Of A Birth Injury
There are a few telltale signs that your child has developed a birth injury. Some are apparent and visible to the naked eye, whereas others are detected upon careful observation. Regardless, if you observe the following signs in your baby, it would be best to seek a professional’s help as soon as possible.
- Poor feeding and sleeping habits
- Excessive crying, vomiting frequently, loss of orientation
- Difficulty in crawling, maintaining balance and position
- Poor reflexes and bladder control problems
- Irregular bowel movements, pain, and impaired special senses
Treatment and Care
Upon finding out that your child has suffered from an injury, the doctor may provide you with a range of treatment plans in order to help your child. While no “one” treatment plan is specific for curing a disease, a combination of plans may be helpful in acquiring progress. Depending on the condition, its severity, and time elapsed, your doctor may suggest one or more of the following treatments.
This is one of the most common treatments. With rapidly advancing medical research, there’s a large variety of quality medications that can treat your baby. While medication alone may not help cure the injury, it can drastically help with associated conditions like pain, bowel movements, etc.
Surgeries are usually the last resort; it is considered after other plans have led to no success. They’re often used in brachial plexus injuries, and it is also effective in correcting skull fractures.
A physiotherapist aims to help babies with muscle-related disorders. They help babies develop muscle strength and reduce pain by making them perform certain exercises. They also help educate the parents of the baby regarding the condition and steps they can take to handle the situation.
Raising a child is a huge responsibility. With factors like birth defects involved, the job becomes significantly more challenging. While complications may not be completely avoidable, taking the right steps beforehand can minimize the risks associated. After all, any parent would do everything in their power to give their child a happy life!