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See also Cerebral Palsy
- Birth Injury is a damage caused before, during or after the delivery of an infant that affects the baby with a temporary injury or a permanent disability. Some birth injuries may heal in a few days without problems, such as slight bruising or swelling of the soft tissues of the babys scalp, face, eyes, shoulders, or bone fractures from traveling down the birth canal and encountering difficulties. Some injuries if more severe, however, can cause brachial plexus injury, brain damage or cerebral palsy.
- Many newborns experience minor injuries from the birthing process, with swelling or bruising only in certain areas.
- If the birth canal is too small or the baby is too large, or the baby is in an abnormal position to be delivered a newborn can sustain a more serious birth injury. There are also other causes for birth injury: mother's pelvic disproportioned, difficult or prolonged labor, prematurity of the baby, abnormal birthing presentation, such as breech (buttocks first), forceps or vacuum extraction can cause injury, problems during cesarian section
- Brachial plexus injury caused by the stretching of the head from the shoulder that causes injury to the brachial plexus nerves to the arm and hand. This injury is often caused by the baby becoming stuck during delivery. There are many risk factors that may contribute to this incidence. Erbs Palsy is one of a group of Brachial Plexus injuries, which include Brachial Plexus Palsy, Klumpke's Palsy and Shoulder Dystocia.
by Rush University Medical Center that provides information on the Definition, Causes, Incidence, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Signs, Tests, Treatment, Prognosis, Complications, Prevention of Brachial Palsy.
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is an interruption or a lack of oxygen to the brain. The best prevention is monitoring of the fetus to make sure that it is not in distress.
- Causes for cerebral palsy prior to birth, during birth, and in the first few months of infancy include lack of oxygen to the brain, brain hemorrhaging (bleeding), and head injury. Other causes are exposure to toxic substances, diabetes or measles virus in the mother (prenatal), or jaundice (postnatal).
- Injuries to the baby's head from forceps, broken bones or inutero infection
- Injury to the baby's spine from overstretching are very rare, but can cause permanent damage.
- Factoidz: Common Causes of Birth Injuries gives a very comprehensive list divided into classifications.
- Caput succedaneum is the swelling of the scalp of an infant from the pressure of head first delivery. Jaundice may occur.
- Cephalohematoma is a collection of blood under the periosteum, the tissue that encapsulates the bone.
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage is bleeding underneath the conjunctiva of the eye.
- Forceps lacerations and bruising
- Facial paralysis
- Brachial plexus injury causes a paralysis of one or both arms. This information is derived from Birth Injury
- Cerebral palsy - See our NHU page on Information about Cerebral Palsy
Depending on the cause and the type of birth injury, the infant may or may not experience the following symptoms:
- Burning or tingling
- Muscle weakness
- Sensitivity to touch
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities offers the article, Learn the Signs, Act Early, which explains what to look for in developmental milestones in regard to controlling head, arm, leg, hand and body muscles in the developing infant.
- Surgery to improve or restore nerve function
- Evaluating Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries from Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Injury Center, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburg. This article describes the brachial plexus and resultant upper extremity injury due to a difficult birth as one of the most common injuries during the birthing process. The article discusses the Anatomy of the Injury, Examination and Diagnosis, Surgical Intervention, Recovery and Outcomes.
- See our NHU resource pages on Health and Care and Therapy and Rehabilitation
- 28,000 incidences of birth injury per year or 7 in 1,000 births. For more information consult this statistics page from this website: Wrong Diagnosis
- "It has been estimated that, for every 1000 babies born in the U.S., five will be injured during birth and the type of birth injury can vary, ranging from temporary bone fractures, bleeding and bruising, to cerebral palsy and even permanent brain damage." ....Brachial plexus injuries occur in approximately 1 in 2,000 births, but only about 10 percent of these babies need treatment; most heal on their own. Early evaluation (within the first one to two months of life) is important to determine whether therapy or surgery is required." This information is from and for more information on statistics go to Birth Injuries.net
- Statistics by country from Right Diagnosis.com
- People First Language offers insight into society's use of language when using the term disability. That the term disability is a societal construct to identify characteristics related to a medical condition that may entitle an individual for services or legal protections. The use of this language encourages freedom, respect and inclusion for all, and recognizes forms of language that can isolate, create negative stereotypes and place attitudinal barriers for individuals.
Visit our NHU Community Forum on Birth Injury for more insight, awareness, viewpoints, experiences, needs and solutions.
Learn More Information
Organizations and websites that provide information about Birth Injury.
- Birth Injury.org website is sponsored by the Midwest Brachial Plexus Network, Inc. You will find complete information about brachial plexus injury, available treatments, legal information, articles, FAQ and support services at this website.
- Birth Injury Information Although this website is for the attorney Dov Apfel there is this section on information which offers discussions on every type of birth injury.
- Lucille Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford offers information on high risk pregnancy and the high risk newborn, Birth Injury: Problems Resulting from the Birth Process - causes and types of trauma, Common Conditions and Complications: such as premature, low birthweight, too small or large, Breastfeeding the high risk newboarn, Parenting in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Taking Your Baby Home and many online resources. For more information, contact them by phone at (888) ASK-LPCH (275-5724) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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