Crying as a Sign of Birth Trauma | Scott Goodwin Law

Crying as a Sign of Birth Trauma

by / Monday, 17 February 2020 / Published in Birth Trauma
Baby crying while covered in white blanket

Generally speaking, parents tend to view the sound of their child crying as being a bad thing. But in the time immediately following birth, the sound of a baby crying for the first time can be a moment of great relief for new parents. That first cry is a sign that the baby’s lungs are healthy and capable of working on their own. So if a baby doesn’t cry right away after birth, is that a sign that something has gone wrong?

Many doctors and midwives believe that a delayed first cry might not necessarily be a sign of trauma. They believe that some babies simply have temperaments that make them cry less often than other babies and as long as their heart and respiration rates are normal and they have good color and muscle tone, then a delayed cry may be nothing to be concerned about. Sometimes, babies may also have a delayed first cry if they’re affected by pain medication.

However, in some cases, a delayed first cry might be a sign of birth asphyxia. Often, birth asphyxia can be caused by problems with the umbilical cord, such as if the cord becomes wrapped around the neck or compressed in another way, restricting the baby’s oxygen flow. Prolonged labors can also put a child at an increased risk of oxygen loss during delivery.

If a child experiences asphyxia during delivery and appropriate measures aren’t taken quickly enough, it can potentially cause a wide range of problems for the child. HIE (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy) is a type of brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen which can lead to issues like developmental delays, learning disabilities, and more. In its most severe cases, birth asphyxia can be fatal.

Beyond a baby’s first cry, issues with crying can be symptoms of other types of injuries. All babies cry, but high-pitched crying and/or excessive fussiness may be a sign that a child has sustained birth trauma. If you notice that a baby is arching their back while crying, that’s something that has been linked to multiple types of birth trauma, such as kernicterus, cerebral palsy, and nerve damage.

During a baby’s first months of life, new parents learn how to meet their child’s needs based on their cries. If you have any reason to suspect that a cry could be a sign of a serious problem, don’t hesitate to bring it to a doctor’s attention. If a child is suffering from birth trauma, it isn’t always easy to tell right away and unusual crying could help bring attention to a problem.

If it turns out that a child does indeed have any kind of injury that was sustained around the time of birth, be sure to contact a birth trauma lawyer right away. Birth trauma cases can be very complicated and at The Law Offices of Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to speak to a Michigan-based lawyer who has helped many people who have been in your position. Contact us today for help with your case.


Image credit: iStock/Anastasiia Stiahailo