As you prepare for the birth of your child, you will want to ensure that everything is in place for a safe delivery. The chances of your newborn suffering from birth injuries are low. And working with well-trained medical professionals can further decrease the odds of them. Yet, enough babies experience birth injuries that it’s crucial to understand how often and why they happen.

Birth injuries happen infrequently

Most babies in the United States are born healthy. Yet, over 2% of newborns experience birth injuries each year. Certain circumstances increase the likelihood of these injuries. If a baby is born prematurely – before the 37th week of pregnancy – or after a prolonged pregnancy, these outliers in gestation make them more susceptible to injury. Babies weighing more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces at birth also run a greater risk of birth injury, due to their large size. And when a baby is not born head-first, doctors may use forceps to assist with the birth, which can harm an infant’s head.

Common types of birth injuries

Many birth injuries arise from issues of oxygen deprivation or forceful delivery. If a baby’s umbilical cord wraps around them and constricts their breathing, it can cause brain damage. And when a doctor delivers the baby in a forceful manner, this can cause nerve damage, bone fractures, bruising or bleeding. If your baby faces oxygen deprivation, or if a doctor applies intense pressure during birth, they may be born with:

  • Bell’s palsy (facial nerve damage)
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Scalp swelling or bruising
  • Collarbone or clavicle fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries

Many birth injuries are not preventable. But doctors must follow proper procedures to increase the likelihood that your baby is born happy and healthy. If your newborn experiences a birth injury, an attorney can help you pursue proper recourse.