What are the Most Common Birth Injuries?
There are a wide variety of birth injuries that children might suffer from. The severity of them can be different in each child as well. These are ten of the most common birth injuries.
1. Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is the most common developmental disorder in children. Cerebral palsy is most often caused by a baby suffering from a brain injury. Injury to a baby’s brain can be something out of the control of the medical professionals involved, but it may also be caused by negligence. There are a variety of different types of cerebral palsy, but many of them have similar symptoms. Most often, this affects a person’s balance and control of their muscles. Cerebral palsy may also lead to additional health conditions. Treatments are available, but there is no cure for any form of cerebral palsy.
2. Facial Paralysis
Facial paralysis causes a baby to have no control over their facial movements. This is caused when there is too much on a baby’s face during the time of their delivery. It occurs most frequently when vacuums and forceps are used to deliver a baby. If a baby has facial paralysis, they may not be able to move one side of their face, including their eyelid. Facial paralysis may resolve itself in a few months, but it can sometimes be more long term.
A baby’s bones are more at risk of being broken than an adult, making bone fractures a common birth injury. Collar bone fractures are among the types of fractures that occur most often. Treatment for fractures in babies is typically to bandage the area to prevent it from moving. Fractures heal on their own over time.
4. Brachial Plexus Palsy
Baby’s lose the ability to move their arm and hand on one side of their body when they suffer from brachial plexus palsy, a birth injury caused when the brachial plexus nerve is damaged. Brachial plexus palsy occurs in difficult pregnancies when a baby’s shoulder Depending on the severity of the nerve damage, brachial plexus palsy may go away on its own, but in some cases, children may never regain movement of their arm, hand, and shoulder.
5. Subconjunctival Hemorrhages
During difficult deliveries, subconjunctival hemorrhages can occur. When this happens, a blood vessel in the eye bursts and causes blood to spread throughout the white area of the baby’s eye. Subconjunctival hemorrhages typically clear up on their own with a few weeks and leave no lasting damage. In rare, extreme cases, there could be permanent damage to the baby’s eye.
6. Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are among the most serious birth injuries. Injuries to the spinal cord include bruising, partial tears, and complete tears most often near the neck and upper to mid-back. These injuries can be caused during stressful deliveries, deliveries when the baby is in an abnormal position, or from improper use of forceps. Many of the symptoms of spinal cord injuries in infants can be difficult to notice immediately. Spinal cord injuries affect children for the rest of their lives and cause permanent paralyzation, as well as, eating, breathing, and digestion problems.
7. Perinatal Asphyxia
Babies who suffer from perinatal asphyxia weren’t able to get enough oxygen due to breathing issues before, during, or after their birth. This can be caused by insufficient blood flow, as well as if a baby suffers from an oxygen deficiency in their blood. When babies with perinatal asphyxia are born, they are often quiet and limp. This can cause babies to have seizures and go into shock. Perinatal asphyxia doesn’t always cause long term damage, but if a baby goes too long without breathing they could suffer from long term brain damage.
8. Caput Succedaneum
Caput succedaneum is swelling in the baby’s scalp. This is often caused when a delivery is especially difficult or when vacuums are used during the delivery. Caput succedaneum can occur before labor begins and can be detected by ultrasound. This doesn’t require any treatment and can clear up within a few days with no lasting effects.
Babies who suffer from cephalohematoma develop bleeding in the cranium hours after they’re born. A bump may often be seen on their scalp soon after the birth that may get larger over several hours. Babies who are delivered with the use of forceps are more at risk of cephalohematoma. This typically heals on its own, but in some more severe cases, doctors may need to drain the excess blood. Cephalohematoma may lead to other conditions such as jaundice and anemia.
10. Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy is the most common type of brachial plexus palsy. Like other types of brachial plexus palsy, this affects a child’s ability to move their shoulder, arm, and hand on one side of their body. Treatments are available for Erb’s palsy and some children may regain control of their arm, although it may still be slightly weak.