It is difficult to know what to do when a parent suspects something went wrong in the delivery room, but a good first step is to understand the causes and symptoms of birth injuries.
Birth injury symptoms often do not appear in the delivery room and sometimes they do not show up for weeks or months. Late-showing symptoms include delays in reaching milestones of child development like sitting up, standing and walking.
Spotting birth injury symptoms often is a result of knowing what is not happening in the child’s development. Each developmental stage has its own milestones that a growing baby should be meeting for movement, visual cues, and hearing.
A one-month old should be able to bring its hands up to its mouth, for example, and turn toward familiar sounds and voices. A three-month-old, on the other hand, should be able to follow moving objects with its eyes and support its upper-body with its arms when lying on its stomach. There are more milestones for seven-month old children and still more for children at 12 months. Keeping an eye on where children are in their movement, visual and hearing milestones can be an important part of understanding whether a child may have a birth injury.
The next step is to understand the causes of birth injury. There are many natural movements that happen in a woman’s body when she delivers a baby and occasionally the contortions and contractions can be hard on an infant. Other times an infant can be injured during birth because of an error or negligence by the doctor, nurse or midwife in charge.
There are several factors that can potentially contribute to an injury to the infant in the delivery room:
• Negligence or improper care
• Lack of oxygen to a baby’s brain during delivery or labor
• Baby’s shoulders get stuck behind mother’s pubic bone and proper techniques are not used during delivery to free the shoulder
• High birth weight babies can be injured during a vaginal birth
• A fetus with a large head can prolong delivery
• Exposure to dangerous birthplace chemicals
• Incorrect use of surgical instruments
• Baby presents in a way other than headfirst
Any of these problems can occur in a delivery room. Oftentimes a parent will not even know that anything went wrong during the delivery. Since it may be months before the baby shows any symptoms, parents need to get legal advice when they are concerned about birth injuries