Birth Injury Risk Factors for Children

As you are preparing for the delivery of your baby, this is a very exciting time for you. You’re gathering clothes and setting the nursery with a crib and a diaper changing station, and plenty of toys for future growth and fun. The last thing you want to think about at a time like this is a birth injury that could affect your baby adversely. While it seems counter intuitive that risk factors for certain pregnancies could be good news, you can prevent a birth injury just by asking your doctor about these risk factors and bringing awareness to medical malpractice.

Baby Too Big or Mom Too Small

When babies are too big before delivery has started, this could add unnecessary complication and risk to the pregnancy. Fetal macrosomia is defined ad an infant that is too large for the proportionate date, or when the child is heavier than 8lbs, 13ozs. Another condition, cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), occurs when the mother’s pelvis isn’t shaped appropriately for vaginal birth. Both could be an unnecessary risk to the baby and the mother, causing birth complications.

Labor and delivery when the aforementioned conditions are present may last for an abnormally long amount of time,  which in turn may cause unnecessary birth injuries to the baby, as the brain is compressed within the birth canal for too long.

Physicians can generally determine size of the baby and whether you have CPD, and if either of these factors are relevant, you may elect for a caesarian section (C-section) to make sure your baby is delivered as safely as possible.

Abnormal Delivery Positions

A week or more before your baby is delivered, your doctor should be able to tell what position your baby is going to be born in. This is especially true if your baby is breech, but this can also be true if your baby is in the face-first presentation. These positions are considered abnormal, and both come with risks of birth injuries as there is a chance of the baby getting stuck or having complications.  This is another situation in which a C-section may prevent birth complications and injuries.

Premature Babies

Infants born before 37 weeks gestation face numerous health hazards, including a heightened risk for birth injuries.  If your doctor believes you are at risk for premature birth, bed rest may be recommended until the baby is old enough to be delivered safely.

However, even with best prenatal care and doing everything you can to deliver your baby during the due date, premature deliveries still happen. The most common birth injuries associated with premature birth include:

  • Caput succedaneum
  • Fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Oxygen deprivation

What You Need to Know: Pulling, Bruising, Breaking, or Injuring

When a baby is too big or when a baby is in an abnormal delivery position, your baby is in a risky situation. On the one hand, if labor is elongated, your baby may risk a brain injury from the compression within the birthing canal for too long. On the other hand, the child could withstand a different kind of birth injury if the doctor pulls on the baby (causing bruising, Erb’s palsy, or broken bones) or uses tools to try and force the baby out therein hurting the baby with those tools (such as vacuum extraction or forceps injury).

However, if you know going into your delivery that the baby is large or that the baby is in an unusual position, request a caesarian section. Several women don’t like that option as they would prefer to at least try delivering the natural way, however, your baby will be happier and safer in the long run without a birth injury.