What You Need to Know About Brain-Related Birth Injuries
Although medical science has come a long way in making childbirth safer for both the mother and the baby, it is still a very delicate process. It’s very easy for complications to arise and when they do, the effects can be very serious for both the mother and the child if the doctor doesn’t act quickly or fails to monitor vital signs during delivery.
Brain injuries can be very serious at any point in life, but infants are particularly susceptible to them, given how delicate their bodies are. Millions of babies each year suffer from infant brain damage and in many cases, those brain injuries are caused during labor and delivery.
Infant brain damage can be caused by many different things, including maternal infections, infant jaundice, and physical trauma during delivery, but oxygen deprivation is one of the most common causes. It’s estimated that 2-10 out of every 1,000 newborns experience oxygen deprivation and babies born prematurely have a higher risk of suffering from an infant brain injury due to a lack of oxygen.
Several different things can cause a baby to lose oxygen during delivery, such as if the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around its neck, problems with the placenta, if the child becomes stuck in the birth canal, or if the mother has problems with her blood pressure. However, with adequate medical supervision, these sorts of problems can either be averted or handled correctly so that the child doesn’t suffer any long-lasting effects.
When there are signs that an infant isn’t getting enough oxygen, it’s crucial that medical professionals take immediate action because the longer the child isn’t getting enough oxygen, the more serious the effects can be. If a baby suffers mild oxygen deprivation, the child can usually make a full recovery. But just a few minutes without oxygen can result in permanent injuries that will last for the rest of the child’s life, such as cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, or organ damage. In cases of prolonged oxygen deprivation, the child could possibly experience organ failure or even die.
Oxygen-related infant brain injuries are divided into two different categories: hypoxia and anoxia. Hypoxia is the more mild of the two types and involves mild and moderate types of brain injuries, while anoxia refers to severe brain injuries caused by a total loss of oxygen.
In cases where an infant brain injury is caused by physical trauma, it’s often caused by improper use of birth-assisting tools or excessive twisting or pulling during delivery. However, it can also happen during difficult deliveries, such as if the child repeatedly hits the mother’s pelvic bone.
If you suspect your child suffered a brain injury during birth, it’s very important to contact a birth trauma lawyer as soon as you can. Some symptoms of brain injuries can take years to show, but a lawyer will be able to help you understand the options available to you. Even if an infant’s brain injury was caused by a maternal medical condition like an infection or problems with the mother’s blood pressure, a doctor could still be legally liable if they neglected to properly monitor the mother’s health and treat any of her health conditions.