Birth traumas refer to injuries that happen to an infant that result from mechanical forces (ie, compression, traction) during the birth process.
Significant birth injuries accounts for fewer than 2% of neonatal deaths and stillbirths in the United States. These occurrences do still happen occasionally and unavoidably, with an average of 6-8 injuries per 1000 live births in the U.S. Generally, larger infants are more susceptible to birth trauma; higher rates are reported for infants who weigh more than 4500 grams.
While most birth traumas have favorable outcomes, nearly one-half are potentially avoidable if recognition of risk factors happens and the medical staff anticipates and reacts to those factors. Risk factors include large-for-date infants, especially infants who weigh more than 4500 g; instrumental deliveries, especially forceps or vacuum; vaginal breech delivery; and abnormal or excessive traction during delivery. In each of these cases, information is readily available and extra care should be taken.
A study reveals that “from 1970-1985, rates of infant mortality due to birth trauma fell from 64.2 to 7.5 deaths per 100,000 live births, a remarkable decline of 88%.” He believes this decrease reflects, in part, the technologic advancements that allow today’s obstetrician to recognize birth trauma risk factors using such advances as “ultrasonography and fetal monitoring prior to attempting vaginal delivery.” The use of potentially harmful instruments, such as mid-forceps rotation and vacuum delivery, has also declined in recent years. The accepted alternative to tool use in The Bronx and Manhattan is a cesarean delivery.
The entire birth process is a blend of compression, contraction, torque, and traction. When fetal size, presentation, or neurologic immaturity complicates this event, such forces may lead to tissue damage, edema, hemorrhages, or fractures in the neonate. The use of instrumentation may further worsen the effects of such forces or may alone induce injury.
Knowledgeable birth injury specialists are competent in uncovering medical data and determining if a natural injury occurred or if a negligent staff member or carelessly implemented procedure caused unnecessary damage.
Birth traumas happen. Sometimes they naturally occur, but if you suspect unnecessary force or misuse of tools or neglect as the cause of sever birth trauma to your child, contact a dedicated New York City Birth Injury Attorney today.