Shortcuts in delivery room increase risk of birth injuries

When doctors take shortcuts, such as using unnecessary extraction tools or telling the nurse to deliver, it may increase the chances of birth injury.

No expectant mother in the Pittsburgh area wants to think about the possibility of birth injuries, but it can happen. According to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, a birth injury is defined as damage done to an infant during the process of birthing. In other words, these injuries were not present until the baby was actually birthed. It is not always clear what caused the injury, but often proper medical treatment could have prevented the issue.

Extraction tools are used

Not all of this damage is avoidable, but when doctors take unnecessary shortcuts, the risk may be increased. Some of the most common birth injuries are caused by the use of extraction tools, such as a vacuum and forceps. These tools are used to make the child birth quicker, but can actually harm the infant.

Extraction tools may lead to some of the most common birth injuries. Caput succedaneum, for example, is a swelling and potential bruising of the baby’s soft tissue, which is often caused by a vacuum extraction. Forceps, on the other hand, may lead to either bruising or facial paralysis.

Nurses carry out delivery

Doctors may choose to have a nurse perform the delivery in their place, states the Birth Injury Guide. This could be due to a busy or conflicting schedule, negligence or some other reason. A doctor must monitor a number of factors, including the baby’s position, the mother’s health and where the umbilical cord is throughout the birth. A nurse may not have the training needed to safely monitor all of these moving parts.

When this shortcut is taken, it could increase a child’s risk of suffering an injury at birth. Even if a doctor is present, there is no guarantee he or she will be able to stop a birth injury from taking place.

Other risk factors

There are many other risk factors associated with birth injuries. The position of the baby may affect whether it is injured during the birthing process. Two common, potentially dangerous positions are breech, where the baby is born bottom first, and face-first, where the baby’s face is down. Both of these position could lead to the baby getting hurt due to getting stuck or other complications.

Another common risk factor is the size of the mother and baby. If the mother has a small pelvis, there could be a higher chance that her baby would get injured if a vaginal birth were pursued. Even if the mother has an appropriately sized pelvis, a baby that is larger than 8 pounds, 13 ounces may be at a higher risk to get stuck. Similarly, if babies are born prematurely, and are therefore too small, there could be a bigger chance of lacerations, oxygen deprivation and fractures taking place as a result of the birthing process.

Depending on the severity of the Pennsylvania birth injury, some children may be affected for the rest of their lives. If the cause of the injury is unclear, families may be able to seek damages by talking with a knowledgeable attorney.