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How do birth injuries typically happen?

Many birth injuries are caused by obstetrical trauma during vaginal delivery conducted with instruments. In plain language, this occurs when a baby assumes an unnatural position prior to birth and the doctor (obstetrician) uses forceps, suction or other medical instruments with excessive force during delivery of the infant. This can cause trauma such as a broken collarbone, head injury, shoulder injury (brachial plexus injury), bruising or lacerations.

Oxygen deprivation is another major cause of birth injuries. This can result in brain damage, including mental retardation or cerebral palsy. Some common causes of oxygen deprivation include:

  • Compression or twisting that blocks the umbilical cord.
  • The umbilical cord becoming wrapped around the baby’s neck.
  • Leaving the baby in the birth canal too long,
  • Failure to recognize that the baby is in distress and perform a Caesarean section.

The baby’s oxygen level is one of many factors that should be constantly monitored during labor and birth. Failure to recognize a low oxygen level and take appropriate action could amount to medical malpractice if the baby suffers harm.

Posted in: Birth Injury FAQs