Breech Deliveries and the Risk of Birth Injuries
Even with all the medical progress that has been made to help make giving birth safer, it’s still very easy for deliveries to become complicated and one common reason is because of breech deliveries.
Breech births occur in about 1 in 25 full-term births and the reasons why breech births occur often aren’t well understood. Some factors that have been linked to an increased risk of breech births include pregnancies involving multiples, having placenta previa, the mother having a history of premature births, the mother having several prior pregnancies, too much or too little amniotic fluid, and the uterus having an unusual shape.
Whether a baby is in the complete breech, frank breech, or incomplete/footling breech position, breech babies are generally born safely. However, anything that makes delivery more difficult can increase the likelihood of birth injuries occurring and breech births are no exception. In many circumstances, a C-section is considered the safest and quickest way to deliver a baby in a breech position and this is how about 86% of breech babies are delivered.
C-sections have risks of their own, but not having one also has risks. If a baby cannot be turned into the correct position, breech babies can be born naturally if certain conditions are met. In this situation, one common complication that can occur is bone fractures. Since the baby needs some extra assistance coming into the world, this can put strain on the shoulder/collarbone area, resulting in collarbone fractures.
Even if a bone fracture doesn’t occur, extra strain on the shoulder area can result in brachial plexus injuries. Brachial plexus injuries are the result of nerves in the brachial plexus, which runs from the spinal cord to the shoulders, arms, and fingers. Brachial plexus injuries can range drastically in severity. In mild cases, the injury can clear up on its own over time. But if the injury is more severe, it can require surgery to treat.
Injuries related to problems with the umbilical cord are also a risk with natural breech deliveries. If the umbilical cord becomes compressed, causing cord prolapse, the baby’s blood and oxygen supply can become greatly diminished. While cord prolapse can happen with any breech position, it’s most common in babies in the complete or footling breech positions.
In some natural breech deliveries, birth-assisting tools like forceps might be needed. When used correctly, birth-assisting tools are safe, but it’s very easy for things to go wrong if they aren’t. Improperly used forceps can cause injuries such as nerve damage and injuries to the head or face.
If your child was in a breech position and suffered an injury around the time of birth, contact a birth trauma lawyer to find out what your legal options are. The tragic reality is that so many birth injuries could have been prevented and a lawyer will be able to help you figure out what steps you need to take next so that your child can receive the treatment it needs.
At Goodwin & Scieszka, we have lawyers experienced in handling birth trauma cases and would be happy to help you through this difficult and upsetting situation. Contact us today so that we can learn more about your case.