Other Birth-Related Injuries
Here is a list of some other common birthing injuries. Most of these eventually heal without permanent injury to the child:
Caput is a severe swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp that develops as the baby travels through the birth canal. Some babies have some bruising of the area. The swelling usually disappears in a few days without problems. Babies delivered by vacuum extraction are more likely to have this condition.
Cephalohematoma is an area of bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones. It often appears several hours after birth as a raised lump on the baby’s head. The body resorbs the blood. Depending on the size, most cephalohematomas take two weeks to three months to disappear completely. If the area of bleeding is large, some babies may develop jaundice as the red blood cells break down.
Some babies may show signs of bruising on the face or head simply as a result of the trauma of passing though the birth canal and contact with the mother’s pelvic bones and tissues. Forceps used with delivery can leave temporary marks or bruises on the baby’s face and head. Babies delivered by vacuum extraction may have some scalp bruising or a scalp laceration (cut).
Subconjunctival hemorrhage is the breakage of small blood vessels in the eyes of a baby. One or both of the eyes may have a bright red band around the iris. This is very common and does not cause damage to the eyes. The redness is usually absorbed in a week to ten days.
During labor or birth, pressure on a baby’s face may cause the facial nerve to be injured. This may also occur with the use of forceps for delivery. The injury is often seen when the baby cries. There is no movement on the side of the face with the injury and the eye cannot be closed. If the nerve was only bruised, the paralysis usually improves in a few weeks. If the nerve was torn, surgery may be needed.
Fracture of the clavicle or collarbone is the most common fracture during labor and delivery. The clavicle may break when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder or during a breech delivery. The baby with a fractured clavicle rarely moves the arm on the side of the break. There may be bruising over the broken bone. Simply immobilizing the arm and shoulder is the recommended treatment and healing begins quickly.
If a family member has suffered a serious, permanent injury related to childbirth, you may want to talk to a lawyer. We provide free consultations to help determine if you have a valid medical negligence case that should be pursued. If you have already consulted with another lawyer or are in the process of doing so, we can offer information about how to evaluate whether you have obtained the right lawyer for your case.
Click here to obtain our free report: “Eleven questions to ask before hiring a lawyer for your injury lawsuit.”