Birth Injuries and Birth Trauma Leave a Lifelong Impact on Families

Parents spend nine months preparing for the arrival of their newborn, from decorating the nursery to stocking up on diapers. But what many can’t prepare for is an unexpected trauma in the delivery room.

As technically-advanced and accessible as the U.S. healthcare system is, we fail in comparison to other industrialized countries when it comes to the health and safety of our most vulnerable little ones. According to the State of the World’s Mothers report, the U.S. has the highest first-day infant death rate among developed countries – more than 11,300 newborns die within 24 hours of their birth. In addition, 3 percent of babies are born with a birth defect.

While many defects and deaths are the cause of genetic issues or an existing medical condition, there are a variety of other reasons for the numbers – a lack of prenatal care, a mother’s health, her use of drugs, and her age. However, many birth injuries and deaths happen in the delivery room, regardless of every precaution a mother takes.

Complications in the Delivery Room

There are two types of issues that can have an effect on a newborn’s health today and down the road. Birth injuries are damages to a baby’s system that occur during delivery, such as infection or a deprivation of oxygen. Birth trauma encompasses more mechanical damage to a baby’s body such as fractures or hemorrhages.

There is a number of physical complications that can lead to a birth injury or trauma, including a large birth weight, the size and shape of a mother’s pelvis, prolonged labor, and an abnormal birthing position (for instance, if the baby is breech).  While these can all affect the birth, how the medical team responds to these conditions is just as important.

According to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the root causes of birth injuries or trauma with regard to medical professions include:

For any of these reasons, a critical life-saving decision can be overlooked, the wrong procedures followed, or the wrong equipment used – all of which can have a long-lasting consequences on a family. While physicians and nurses take every possible precaution, mistakes and oversights can happen.

The Lingering Effects of Birth Trauma

Many cognitive, physical and development conditions can occur after a birth injury. Some are temporary; others can require a lifetime of rehabilitation, medical treatment and long-term care. A child may be confined to a wheelchair the rest of his life or depend on a breathing tube in order to survive.

Some of the most common birth injuries include:

Medical facilities and professionals are following best practices and undergoing significant training to help prevent an injury from happening to one more newborn and family. However, mistakes still happen – in fact, the birth injury rate continue to remains steady in the U.S even as professionals take the proper precautions.

Because a birth injury can leave a child with special needs for the rest of his life, his family members must understand what remedies are available to them. With a financial safety net, the family can ensure the child receives proper medical care, therapy and necessary equipment when he needs it for as long as he needs it.