Risk factors for birth injuries

Many complications during pregnancy as well as seemingly routine deliveries can result in lifelong disabilities for newborns.

When expecting a new baby, Houston parents deserve to spend the months that span pregnancy filled with joy and excitement about their new loved one. Efforts should be able to focus on plans for a happy life in the years to come. However, there are many things that can happen both during a pregnancy as well as during the labor and delivery process that may shift the focus to other, more serious issues.

Birth injury risk starts during pregnancy

When considering what are commonly referred to as birth injuries, it must be realized that these incidents can actually begin with complications during a pregnancy. Without proper medical intervention, many problems can lead to the ultimate injury during a birth or if a necessary birth is delayed.

What are some common pregnancy complications?

It would be impossible to list all conditions that can negatively affect a pregnancy but there are some known to be of high concern. WebMD.com explains that pre-eclampsia must be treated appropriately to avoid the development of full eclampsia. For the latter condition, the only true treatment is delivery of the baby. Sometimes delivery can be safely delayed with bed rest but accurate fetal monitoring is critical. Warning signs of preeclampsia include high blood pressure, swelling in the extremities and high urine protein levels.

A placental abruption is one potentially fatal result of improperly treated preeclampsia. The American Pregnancy Association explains that a placental abruption occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus. This cuts off blood, nutrition and oxygen supplies from the baby. In mild separations, babies may be able to remain in utero until they develop further. When complete separations occur, however, immediate delivery is required. Depleted oxygen levels to the brain can cause permanent nerve damage. The APA indicates that 15 percent of infants will die if a placental abruption is not appropriately responded to.

Lifelong disabilities can result

WebMD.com reports that up to one-fifth of all cases of cerebral palsy are due to some form of birth injury. This can also include deliveries that were not done in a timely fashion in the face of a pregnancy complication. Babies with cerebral palsy may display motor problems, speech difficulties and even seizures. These symptoms are the direct results of damaged nerves in the brain, commonly due to insufficient oxygen levels.

Another form of paralysis that may occur when nerves are damaged during birth is called Erb's palsy. WebMD.com indicates this is also known as brachial plexus and happens when babies' shoulders are improperly adjusted or pulled on when in the birth canal. Babies with this condition have some level of paralysis in the arms.

Always seek help

It is important for parents to know that help exists. Seeing one's child suffer in any way is never easy and every family deserves compensation for birth injuries that could have been prevented. Contacting an attorney in such times is a recommended course of action.

Keywords: birth, injury, negligence, malpractice