The birth of a baby should be an extraordinary time for a family. Welcoming a new member of a family should bring nothing but joy. But, for many families a birth injury turns a happy time into a family's worst nightmare. A birth injury can include any number of physical problems for an infant. They can include broken blood vessels, broken collarbones, facial nerve injuries or swelling of the face or head. More serious injuries -- including death -- can also occur.
In some cases, a family may never understand why a birth injury occurred. However, there are some common causes including problems with the mother or the baby. One common cause is the size of the baby. If the baby is too large a birth injury is more likely to occur. A birth injury can also occur if the baby is breach -- or not head down -- while in the birth canal.
Problems with the mother can also cause issues. For example, if a mother is very overweight then birth injuries can occur. Also, if labor is long or difficult then the risk of problems increases. Also, the shape and size of the mother's birth canal and pelvis can also effect the risk of birth injuries.
The actions of doctors can also effect whether a birth injury occurs. The use of forceps and other medical devices often increases the rate of birth injuries, as does a cesarean section.
In cases where the mother or baby is showing risk factors for birth injuries, a doctor should take some action to prevent these injuries from occurring. If doctors are negligent in causing or failing to take action to prevent birth injuries -- such as the failure to perform a cesarean section -- then they may be held liable for damages that occur. In cases where a family has had a child suffer from birth injuries, a personal injury attorney may be able to provide some insight about available relief.
Source: University of Rochester Medical Center, "Birth Injury," accessed Oct. 26, 2014