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Vaginal births: Profiles of 4 possible birth injuries

Birth injuries are events that no expectant parents think will happen to them. For some expectant parents, however, things go wrong in the delivery room, and the baby is hurt. These injuries can be serious and can sometimes lead to lifelong consequences for the baby. Our Texas readers might like to know more about the types of injuries that can occur during labor and birth.

Bruising is a common occurrence during labor and delivery. The baby is being squeezed through a narrow space during a vaginal birth, so it is fairly easy to see how bruising would be possible. The bruises are sometimes worse when the baby is delivered using forceps. While light bruising is common, severe bruising isn't common at all.

Fractures of the collarbone are possible during delivery. There are some instances in which these breaks might not be preventable but in other cases, these birth injuries could have been prevented through attentive medical care.

Brachial palsy is another birth injury that affects the baby's arm. This condition affects the nerves that go to the arm and hand. It can lead to limited motion of the affected arm. This is a condition that is usually associated with shoulder dystocia.

Facial paralysis is possible if pressure on the baby's face put pressure on the facial nerve in a manner that causes damage to the nerve. The severity of damage to the nerve determines the severity of the paralysis. If the nerve is only bruised, no surgery is usually needed. A torn nerve, however, usually requires surgery. Facial paralysis is sometimes the result of a forceps delivery.

No parents expect their baby will be hurt during labor and delivery. When the unthinkable happens, parents should know they have the right to seek compensation to help them care for their child as the child gets the care necessary for the injury.

Source: Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, "Birth Injury" Sep. 12, 2014

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