Giving birth can be a joyous, memorable occasion for expectant parents. It can also be a difficult and traumatic process. Many newborn babies suffer minor injuries during labor and delivery, with a significant number of these being caused simply by the birthing process. Unfortunately, many other birth injuries are caused by the negligence or recklessness of a healthcare provider.
One of the most frightening aspects of birth injuries is the fact that parents may not be immediately aware that their child was injured. While severe birth injuries may be apparent immediately following birth, others may not present symptoms until the days, weeks, or even months after birth.
5 Signs Your Baby was Injured During Birth
There are many causes and signs of birth injuries. For parents, it is important to understand behaviors and problems that may be signs of a birth injury. Five of the most common signs of a birth injury include:
- Difficulties with Feeding: While any newborn can experience fluctuations in feeding and digestion, serious difficulties with feeding can be a sign of a birth injury. Parents should be mindful of any difficulties with sucking, eating, or swallowing, which can be signs of a brain hemorrhage or cerebral palsy, both often caused by a birth injury. Parents should be swift in consulting their pediatrician with concerns about eating or digestion.
- Arched Back Crying: It is true that all babies cry, and these cries are as unique as the child. When crying becomes intense, or is accompanied by an arched back, this may be an indication of a birth injury. Arched back crying is often a sign of pain, nerve damage, acid reflux, or cerebral palsy – any of which can be related to a birth injury.
- Seizures: Seizures can be a sign of a birth injury, such as bleeding in the brain. Subarachnoid, Subdural, and Intraventricular hemorrhages all can lead to seizures, which vary in severity, duration, and treatability.
- Fractured Bones: During a difficult delivery, bones may be fractured or broken, particularly in the upper body. Fractured or broken bones in the arms or legs may be a sign of a birth injury caused by a traumatic birth, improper use of delivery instruments, or other negligence of a healthcare provider.
- Nerve Damage/Paralysis: Nerve damage or paralysis can be difficult to determine in infants since they cannot express their ailments. However, there are some particular signs that parents can look for that may signal a birth injury. Such signs include weakness, lack of response to touch, lack of reflexes, or limpness of the limbs. These signs may indicate a birth injury such as spinal cord damage or cerebral palsy. Further, signs of facial paralysis may be caused by inappropriate use of forceps during delivery.
Parents who notice any of these signs should consult their pediatrician or other healthcare provider immediately to determine if their baby may be suffering from the effects of a birth injury. If you do notice any of the 5 signs above, you will want to consult a birth injury attorney to learn more about birth injury laws, your rights, and options you may have to pursue legal remedies.