Pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists, and other birth-delivery doctors should anticipate many of the things that might go wrong during the birth process, in the delivery room, and during the recovery. Experienced doctors reduce the known risks before the delivery and act quickly to take corrective actions when problems occur during the delivery.
According to Stanford Children’s Health, some of the common complication factors in pregnancies include:
- Babies who weigh more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces
- Babies who are borne before 37 weeks after conception
- Difficult or prolonged labors
- Mother’s whose pelvis is not properly sized for a vaginal birth
Some of the more common birth injuries include:
- Bruising or forceps marks. Some newborns have difficulty passing through the birth canal. Some babies need the help of forceps to guide them through. A vacuum extraction may be required. Doctors should understand when and how to use these medical devices. The newborns may develop scalp bruises and cuts. Some may have marks from the forceps.
- Caput succedaneum. This is fancy way of saying that the baby’s scalp swells. The swelling should, if treated properly, subside with time.
- Brachial palsy. This is an injury to the brachial plexus – the nerves around the arms and hands. It usually occurs because of difficulties moving the newborn’s shoulder. The damage can cause the newborn to lose “the ability to flex and rotate the arm.” It may take months for normal movement to return – in the best-case scenario. In a worst-case scenario, a tear to a nerve can cause permanent damage.
- This is “an area of bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones.” It normally takes several weeks to three months to resolve. Some newborns may also develop jaundice.
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage. It is fairly common for a child to develop this condition – which is the breaking of small blood vessels in one or both eyes. The redness should subside in about 10 days.
- Paralysis of the face. If facial nerves become injured of forceps are used during the delivery, part of the baby’s face may not move and the eye may not close. In the best-case, the paralysis improves in several weeks. In the worst case, surgery is required.
- Breaks of the collarbone or clavicle are also common especially during a tough delivery or a breech delivery. “As new bone forms, a firm lump on the clavicle often develops in the first 10 days. If the fracture is painful, limiting movement of the arm and shoulder with a soft bandage or splint may be helpful.”
Cerebral palsy is another well-known complication that may occur when the baby doesn’t get the oxygen he/she needs during the delivery.
Parents have the right to expect their birth doctors will follow standard medical practices. When physicians, hospitals, and other health care professionals negligently cause your child harm, these health can be held accountable.