Childbirth can be extremely complex and dangerous, especially if the medical staff or healthcare facility fails to handle the birth appropriately. There are several ways in which infants can be injured during childbirth, and, unfortunately, many of those injuries could result in brain damage. Infant skulls are particularly delicate, making them more susceptible to injury during and shortly after birth. Their skulls are not yet fully formed, and there are soft spots where the bones haven’t yet fused. For this reason, they need to be handled with the utmost care by doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. However, not all injuries are caused by physical trauma, other types of errors could cause serious brain damage as well.
If anything goes wrong while handling the baby, or if something is handled poorly during delivery, it could result in temporary, long-lasting, or permanent brain damage. Read on to learn more about the different ways in which infants could suffer brain damage during the delivery process.
Many infant brain injuries are caused by some type of physical trauma sustained during the birth or afterward. When doctors need to help the mother with the delivery process, this often means they must push, pull, or grab the baby to help the birth along. Whether the doctor uses his or her hands, forceps, a vacuum, or some other birthing tool, the damage could be severe. Helping with delivery can be tricky, and if the doctor or midwife pulls the baby at an odd angle, it could cause nerve damage or might even damage the baby’s neck and head.
Instruments like forceps, and especially vacuums, can cause serious damage directly to the baby’s head. If the vacuum is used too roughly, or if the doctor grips the baby’s head too tightly, it could bruise the skull or even cause internal bleeding. This could most definitely result in temporary or permanent brain damage.
Cerebral palsy is one of the more common birth injuries, and it can result in infant brain damage. Unfortunately, cerebral palsy is a life-long condition and can cause serious developmental delays, trouble with coordination, seizures, and difficulty seeing, hearing, or breathing. Cerebral palsy can be caused by mistakes made by medical staff during birth, especially if the birth process was particularly difficult or traumatic. In some cases, this condition is caused by physical trauma caused by forceps or a vacuum, or it could be as a result of oxygen deprivation. Additionally, if the baby’s heart rate was allowed to remain at a hazardous rate for too long, usually during a difficult birth, especially if the doctor was too slow to order a C-section, it could also result in cerebral palsy.