As a parent, you want nothing more than to ensure your baby is safe and healthy. From the moment of birth onward, you can take several precautions to ensure your child’s development is on track.
Staying aware of potential issues your baby may have is essential to this process. One of the most important things to keep an eye out for is birth injuries. These can range from minor bruises and scrapes to more serious conditions like cerebral palsy or broken bones. The signs aren’t always easy to spot, so knowing what to look for is important.
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the most common types of birth injuries and offer some advice on how to identify them in your child. We’ll also share some tips for getting professional help if you suspect an underlying problem with your baby’s health.
Causes of Birth Injuries
As a parent, you may be concerned about the possibility that your baby could have suffered a birth injury. Fortunately, a few key factors can help you identify if something has gone wrong during delivery.
One of the most common causes of birth injuries is when the baby’s size and position make it difficult to pass safely through the birth canal during labor and delivery. This is often referred to as “shoulder dystocia,” which can cause trauma to both the baby and the mother.
Additionally, medical interventions such as forceps or vacuum extraction can increase the risk of morbidity or injury in a newborn if used incorrectly. In some cases, however, birth injuries may be caused by medical negligence or malpractice on the part of medical personnel—such as failing to properly diagnose or treat neonatal conditions during pregnancy or labor and delivery or not responding promptly to emergencies such as fetal distress.
More serious injuries may occur when this happens, including broken bones, cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and brachial plexus paralysis.
If, after delivery, you notice any abnormal signs or symptoms associated with the newborn that is concerning, you should seek immediate medical attention for your baby. Doing so will help ensure that any potential birth injury is identified and treated immediately—and can ultimately prevent long-term complications.
Common Signs of Birth Injury immediately after birth
If your baby is born via vaginal delivery and requires resuscitation, the first thing to look out for is difficulty breathing. Your baby may make a high-pitched or weak cry or have a bluish tinge on their skin. They may also be limp or have a weak grip when held.
All these signs can indicate that your baby has suffered from oxygen deprivation as a result of birth asphyxia. After you’ve taken your baby home from the hospital, it’s also important to look for any changes in behavior or longer-term effects from a birth injury.
A baby may have difficulty eating, appear overly tired, have frequent seizures, exhibit an abnormal cry, or show signs of joint stiffness, such as tight muscles and reduced flexibility on one side of the body. Also, ask your pediatrician to conduct regular newborn screenings to detect any potential physical and mental disabilities associated with a birth injury.
Common Signs of Birth Injuries at 12-24 months old
It’s also important to keep an eye on your baby’s physical and neurodevelopmental development between 12-24 months old. During this time, you should look out for indicators of birth-related injuries, such as:
A brain injury can cause several issues, including frequent headaches, loss of balance or coordination, seizures, difficulty with vision or hearing impairment, or even difficulty sleeping.
Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury could lead to scoliosis or curvature of the spine as the baby grows. In some cases, this can cause breathing problems or limited mobility.
Loss Of Muscle Control (Paralysis)
You may notice your baby has an unusually floppy muscle tone or difficulty moving their arms and legs, which could be signs of paralysis. Loss of sensation in the arms and legs is another symptom to watch for.
Swelling and bruising on the head or face
Your newborn may have suffered a compression injury during the birthing process that left them with swelling around the face and head. This is something to watch out for, particularly during their first few months.
Also, pay attention to any clicking noises that could signify neck joint issues, such as torticollis — head turning rigidly towards one side due to muscle tightness.
Common Signs of Birth Injuries After 2 Years Old
At this point, your child is becoming more active and interactive and developing their gross and fine motor skills. Unfortunately, if your baby was born with a birth injury, it may show signs of it at this age. Depending on the type of injury, you may see problems in the following areas:
- Milestones: Your baby’s development should follow a regular pattern. Any delays, such as being unable to roll over by eight months or walking by 18 months, could be related to a birth injury.
- Gross Motor Skills: Issues like an inability to balance or coordination problems could indicate nervous system issues from a birth injury.
- Fine Motor Skills: From holding objects between the thumb and forefinger to using tools like scissors or crayons, fine motor tasks also require coordination and balance—which can be affected by birth injuries.
- Social Skills: Your child should be interacting more with people other than immediate family members at this age. If your baby seems disengaged in social situations or they have difficulty engaging in play activities with their peers, it could suggest an issue stemming from their birth injury.
How To Protect Your Baby
The best way to protect you and your baby is to be prepared before labor. Regular prenatal checkups can help identify potential issues that may increase the chances of complications during the delivery. Additionally, you should always seek an experienced physician familiar with the delivery process and knowledgeable about alternative delivery techniques in an emergency.
If possible, it is also recommended to take a childbirth education class that can teach you more about possible risks and how to better cope with labor. During your birthing plan, you should also discuss any additional safety procedures with your doctor to ensure your provider knows the most recent safety protocols.
At the time of delivery, knowing the warning signs of birth trauma can help you identify a potential injury as soon as possible.
Contact Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers for Birth Injury Lawyers Serving Pembroke Pines
If your baby was injured at birth, acting quickly to ensure the best possible outcome is essential. Contact the dedicated birth injury lawyers at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers serving Pembroke Pines today if you suspect your baby has suffered a birth injury. We have over decades of combined experience in dealing with complex medical malpractice cases—so you can rest assured that your case is in capable hands.
Our brain injury lawyers serving Pembroke Pines and surrounding areas strive to provide comprehensive legal services geared toward helping families suffering from the lifelong consequences of birth injuries. Our team will review your case with the utmost respect, care, and attention to detail that it deserves.
We understand how difficult it can be for parents dealing with the trauma associated with a birth injury, and our lawyers will work tirelessly on your behalf to get the results you seek. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you think your baby suffered an injury at birth—contact us today at (561) 800-8000 for assistance.