A delayed birth occurs when circumstances prevent an infant from being delivered during the normal time frame. Most times, if immediate medical intervention is provided, the infant may only suffer minor conditions and will go on to heal without problems. However, a delayed birth can also result in more serious medical issues, especially if a traumatic birth injury occurs.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is different than a birth defect. A birth defect is a genetic anomaly that your child may have been born with anyway due to DNA predispositions. Birth defects can also be caused by taking medications during pregnancy, such as certain antidepressant drugs and narcotics.
A birth injury is a disability suffered during before, during, or shortly after birth. Obvious birth injuries could be something like dropping the baby, bruising the baby, breaking the baby’s bones, or lacerations due to forceps or vacuum extraction.
Less obvious birth injuries involve a mistake made by someone on the medical staff during pregnancy, labor and delivery (known as intrapartum), or peripartum (the period right before or after delivery).
What Are the Risks of a Delayed Birth?
Sometimes babies experience birth trauma from being in the birth canal for too long. An infant’s brain is designed to withstand temporary compression while it’s in the birth canal and to expand again shortly after delivery. The spinal cord and the lower central nervous system located around the sacrum are likewise designed with withstand compression. However, if the compression lasts for too long as in a delayed birth, there can be a number of birth injuries.
What are the Symptoms of a Birth Injury?
As the brain is primarily what is in danger in this case, be sure to look out for a number of symptoms that have to do with neurological problems. Some of these symptoms could be relatively immediate: delay in sucking for 24-48 hours, vomiting, arched back while crying, high pitched crying, or asymmetrical movement of the limbs. Other symptoms may be delayed such as developmental delays or missed steps in general development.
What are the Most Common Birth Injuries Experienced in Delayed Birth?
Perhaps the most common birth injury experienced in delayed birth is attention deficit disorders, Asperger’s syndrome, or Autism. While these developmental disorders can be caused by a variety of influences, one of the attributing factors is delayed birth. The compression of the brain for too long can cause an adverse reaction in the brain which could manifest in the form of ADHD, Asperger’s or Autism as in more common cases. Elongated brain compression can cause more serious injuries, however, such as hematoma, spina bifida, brain injury due to oxygen deprivation, and umbilical cord prolapse if the baby is blocked in the birth canal with the cord.
Delivering a baby should be a happy and exciting event. By understanding the risks of a delayed birth, you can speak to your doctor and be sure that these birth injuries can be avoided. Sometimes an awareness of the risk can be enough to prevent the risk entirely.