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Top Risk Factor for a Birth Injury

Whether purposely making the choice to extend your family or simply being surprised by the impending addition, the discovery of a new pregnancy can be a dream come true. But that dream can quickly become a potential nightmare when a serious birth defect or traumatic birth injury occurs. The situation at hand can be something as simple as unexpected bruising on the infant’s body to a severe mental and/or physical deformity that may require special lifelong care and ongoing medical attention. There’s always a human factor involved, either through DNA, chemical exposure, or through human error. But what is the top risk factor for a birth injury and when should a birth injury attorney become involved?

What Are Birth Defects and Birth Injuries, and How Do They Differ?

Many people believe birth defects and birth injuries are the same things. While they can overlap and be caused by similar means, they’re really quite different. Birth defects are usually unavoidable conditions caused in large part by DNA and genetic makeup. They can also be caused by the mother’s exposure to harmful substances or even the result of common illnesses. Birth defects are often formed early during the gestation period and are usually unavoidable. Birth injuries, on the other hand, are another matter altogether. Birth injuries are usually caused by human error and in most cases, are completely preventable. Moreover, oftentimes they’re the result of hospital or medical practices at the time of birth.

What Are the Risk Factors and Results of Birth Injuries?

A single harmed baby is one too many, and yet approximately 7 out of 1000 infants suffer from severe birth injuries due in large part to medical neglect or excess force. That may sound like a low number at only 2% of annual births, but it equates to roughly three birth injuries per hour. The top risk factor is hard to pinpoint, but almost all come down to a few specific reasons:

 Large babies born after their expected due date

  • Delivery instruments such as vacuums and midcavity forceps
  • Excessive traction during delivery
  • Breech delivery, especially with a larger infant

A fetus approaching or exceeding 10 pounds is considered a primary high-risk factor for potential birth injuries. This often occurs in extended pregnancies/delayed birth and is one of the main reasons a doctor may medically induce during delivery. But that won’t necessarily prevent birth injuries. Medications given at or shortly before birth can put the baby at risk. Parents put their trust in their medical team, and usually rightly so. But human error does occur, and for the parents and children involved the resulting challenges can be enormous. Most malpractice suits filed annually, for this reason, aren’t done so through malice but out of financial and practical need.

Excessive time in the birth canal and a prolapsed umbilical cord are two common reasons, but certainly not the only ones, for oxygen deprivation during delivery. Oxygen deprivation is the main cause of Cerebral Palsy, a permanent disability that affects over 10,000 children annually, or 3 in 1000 births. The challenges of birth injuries can be lifelong and traumatic for parents and children alike. But the good news is you don’t have to suffer in silence. A simple call can connect you with the right birth injury attorney who can help you get the remediation you need.