Birth Injuries in Newborns

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What Is a Birth Injury?

Birth injuries are physical harm to the baby that occurs as a result of over-pressure or overstretching its head, neck, body or limbs or any other type of physical trauma during the delivery or around the time of birth. No factor that could cause an injury should be underestimated because such birth traumas may result in permanent damage to the baby, and the injuries may even be fatal.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Birth Injuries?

Birth injuries may occur due to:

  • The mother’s narrow birth canal
  • Use of foreceps during the delivery of the baby
  • Use of vacuum during the delivery of the baby
  • The baby is large
  • The baby is not head-first in the birth canal
  • The baby is born too early
  • The baby is born too late
  • Long and difficult labor
  • Cesarean delivery (c-section)

What Are the Most Common Types of Birth Injuries?

Birth injuries may cause:

  • Brain damage, caused by internal brain bleeding or lack of oxygen in the brain
  • Head swelling and bruising, caused by forceps or vacuum, mother’s narrow birth canal
  • Skull Fracture, caused by strong physical pressure, mother’s narrow birth canal
  • Cerebral palsy, caused by brain damage
  • Face nerve injuries, caused by physical pressure from strong forceps
  • Spinal cord injuries, caused by overstretching the baby’s head, neck, shoulders or arms
  • Erb’s palsy, caused by overstretching the baby’s head, neck, shoulders or arms
  • Epilepsy, caused by internal brain bleeding or lack of oxygen in the brain
  • Skull Fracture, caused by strong physical pressure
  • After birth injuries, environmental hazards such as ambient temperature, atmospheric pressure, light, noise, odors and other stimuli.

How Do Birth Injuries Usually Occur?

Ideally, a pregnant woman should give birth after 40 weeks of the last menstrual cycle, and the baby has grown 50cm in length and from 3200g to 3500g in weight. The very act of birth for the baby is a great effort, it must break through the bony and muscular circle of the mother’s pelvis. In doing so, its head is exposed to great pressure and deformation. If the birth canal (pelvic bone, uterus’ mouth, and pelvic muscles) are not sufficiently elastic or too tight, and delivery is delayed, and if it is necessary to use birth pliers or vacuum, there is a risk of moving the bones of the baby’s skull and with it also a possibility of internal bleeding and injury to the brain tissue in the baby.

What Are the Consequences of Major Birth Injuries?

Major injuries at birth can even kill a newborn baby. If the child suffers a brain injury, in 30% of cases it is likely that it will remain defective until the end of his life. At places where the brain sustained injuries, cracks are seen when the spinal cord is formed, such damaged tissue of the brain is no longer healing.
A child born with such damage often suffers from limb torpor – (cerebral palsy), which greatly impedes its normal mental development, turning it into a potential emotionally sick person. Because of a brain injury, the baby may remain half-witted or in early childhood to experience epileptic seizures, usually in the form of swelling of the entire body. Epilepsy is a serious illness that greatly prevents a person from adapting constructively to the environment. Sometimes the child suffers from all three defects in such a brain injury and remains physically and psychologically disabled until the end of its life.

What Kind of Brain Damage Can Anoxia Cause?

If the birth is normal, the child begins to breathe with the umbilical cord termination itself. Due to long-term or complicated deliveries, the child may not start breathing immediately. His body can then remain oxygen-free (anoxia) for several minutes. Proper and timely provision of first aid initiates normal breathing, but the brain has already suffered an injury due to lack of oxygen in those few minutes and a number of brain cells have already died out, and this damage cannot be repaired. A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates the consequences of anoxia at birth. The results indicate that a large percentage of children who were anoxically born in later life had mental disabilities. The children who do not start breathing right after delivery, are later mostly overly sensitive and more agitated than the children who did not have any problems with breathing at birth.

How to Prevent Birth Injuries?

It goes without saying, the chances of damage are drastically reduced if delivery is performed by an expert in hospital conditions and professional supervision at home. When the gynecologist follows the health of the pregnant woman from the very beginning, then an early diagnosis of an eventual anomaly and her hospital treatment is possible. In such conditions, with timely intervention, delivery will be provided without affecting the child’s health.

What Are the Possible Causes of a Child’s Afterbirth Injuries?

The very act of birth, the child is so traumatic that he can endanger its life. But the biggest life challenge for a child is when suddenly find itself in a completely new environment outside the mother’s body. Suddenly it must get used to changes in ambient temperature, atmospheric pressure, light, noise, odors and other stimuli. It must instantly breathe on her own and take food. Its bloodstream changes, it immediately faces many hazards such as infected by – pathogenic microbes – with which the young organism has to compete. The nervous system of the newborn from the outside world suddenly registers, a large number of new, so far unknown irritations that need to be submitted and synchronize.

What Does the Child Experience Immediately After Birth?

All of this from the baby requires quick and good adjustment, which is a difficult task for an organism that is first encountered with a completely new setting of existence.

The first child’s weeping is an expression of fear in the newborn from the environment in which it was suddenly found.

Immanuel Kant

All the fears in men’s later life come from the first great fear they experienced during the time of birth.

Otto Rank

Such generalization is certainly wrong, but the fact remains that the delivery can cause permanent damage to the child, and thus seriously threatens the normal development of its personality.