Welcoming A New Family Member: 7 Possible Labor And Delivery Complications


From the time we know about being pregnant until the baby is born and in our arms, we are preparing to be parents, visiting the family physician regularly, eating right, and following the doctor’s orders carefully. The nursery is gotten ready and clothing, diapers, and other baby supplies are purchased. New parents may also go to birthing classes to be better prepared for the baby’s birth. But sometimes things go wrong. 

Every Pregnancy Carries Risks 

Though most pregnancies are a happy experience with the end result being a healthy mother and baby, some pregnancies and births develop problems. Injuries that occur during the birth process and leave the infant with medical problems that last a lifetime can be heartbreaking and very costly. A preventable birth injury happens when medical personnel makes mistakes. Some preventable birth injuries include: 

1. Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage occurring before or during childbirth. 

2. Caput succedaneum is a swelling of the baby’s scalp that happens during the birth process caused by improper use of an extraction vacuum. 

3. Fractures that occur during delivery when the infant’s arm or shoulder are stuck in the mother’s pelvis at delivery or in breech deliveries. 

4. Spinal cord injuries can occur during breech deliveries or when birth instruments are used improperly. 

5. Brachial plexus is a nerve condition of the shoulders, arms, and hands that may require surgery. This can happen with breech deliveries and when the baby is forced through the birth canal. 

6. Epidural or other medication-related birth injuries can occur during labor and birth of a baby causing brain injury, stroke, or a coma. 

7. Cephalohematoma is a cranial injury that results in bleeding under the baby’s skull. And, Horner’s is another cranial-based condition involving facial paralysis and pressure bruises. These conditions may be caused by birthing tools being misused.


What Causes Birth Injuries? 

Birth injuries can be caused by difficult births involving the baby’s size or position in the womb. They can also be caused by the instruments used in the birthing process or the physician’s actions during the delivery. Birth injuries can be caused by Infections or during pregnancy. 

· Babies that weigh more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces may result in difficult births and possible injury. 

· Premature babies born before or at 37 weeks are more fragile and prone to injury. 

· A condition called cephalopelvic disproportion where a woman’s pelvis shape and size are not adequate for a baby to be born vaginally. 

· Prolonged labor or difficult labor and childbirth. 

· Abnormal presentation of the baby at birthing time. Breech or butt-first delivery is an example. 

· Misuse of birthing instruments or negligent actions by birthing professionals.

· The mother could have had an infection such as group B strep or meningitis. These infections are passed on to the baby during the birth process and should have been caught by the physician. 

· Conditions such as folic acid deficiency, anemia, and spina bifida injure the baby but could have been prevented by the mother taking supplements prescribed by the physician. 

Careful monitoring of a woman during the term of her pregnancy and birth process can prevent most of these injuries. The physician must know when to carry out an emergency C-section or other intervention, be able to identify and treat a prolapsed umbilical cord, and properly and carefully use birth-assisting tools so they do not cause injury. New parents who feel their baby’s birth injury is due to negligence can seek legal help.