While minor birth injuries such as scratches and bruises heal quickly, more serious injuries can have devastating health consequences for the mother or her child. Birth injuries occur either in the hours leading up to labor, during active labor or just after the baby is born.
If you or a loved one is expecting a baby, review the basics about birth injuries to prepare yourself for delivery.
Types of birth injuries
Head injuries often impact infants during the birthing process because of the pressure of traveling through the birth canal. While these injuries are usually not serious, skull fracture and bleeding in the brain require emergency medical attention. Other traumatic birth injuries include limited flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, broken bones, spinal cord injury, and nerve damage.
Increased risk for birth injury can result from:
- Fetal weight of 10 pounds or more
- Breech or other unfavorable birth position
- Use of forceps during delivery
- Maternal obesity
- Narrow birth canal
- Premature birth
If you have concerns about any of these risk factors, talk to your doctor about ways to prevent birth injury during delivery. If an injury results from negligence on the part of a health care provider, you could have a legal claim for medical malpractice. In Washington state, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of the injury date if you have evidence that the injury occurred because the doctor did not adhere to a reasonable standard of care. The state requires this type of legal claim to go through mediation before bringing it to trial.