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Birth Injury FAQs

Illinois medical malpractice attorney infant injury FAQs

Answering Frequently Asked Questions About Injuries to Children During Pregnancy, Labor, and Delivery

How Common Are Birth Injuries?

Statistics show that six to eight of every 1,000 children born in the U.S experience birth injuries.

Is There a Difference Between a Birth Defect and a Birth Injury?

Birth injuries occur when problems arise during pregnancy, labor, or delivery that result in harm to the child or mother. These injuries may be caused because medical personnel did not follow the correct procedures during birth, because doctors failed to properly address complications such as preeclampsia or placental abruption, or for a variety of other reasons. Birth defects, on the other hand, typically occur because of genetic factors or other issues that affected a child's growth and development during pregnancy. Some birth defects can be caused by maternal infections or the use of certain medications, and doctors should properly monitor a child during pregnancy to recognize birth defects such as spina bifida and ensure that parents understand how these issues should be addressed.

Are Birth Injuries More Likely to Occur During a Cesarean Delivery or a Vaginal Birth?

During a vaginal birth, a child may be at risk of injuries related to brain trauma, asphyxia, or shoulder dystocia. While vaginal birth is usually preferred, a Cesarean delivery may be necessary in cases involving breech birth, placental abruption, preterm labor, or other complications. During a C-section, children may experience lacerations or respiratory distress, and they are at a higher risk of suffering bone fractures, including skull fractures, if the pregnancy has not reached full term.

How Can Lack of Oxygen Lead to Birth Injuries?

If an infant's supply of oxygen is cut off during pregnancy or birth, this can cause serious brain injuries, including hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Asphyxia can occur because of issues with the placenta or umbilical cord, infections, prolonged labor, preeclampsia, low blood pressure, anemia, or other complications. Brain injuries caused by lack of oxygen can result in developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy, as well as cognitive or mental impairment.

Does Inducing Labor Increase the Risk of Birth Injuries?

Whether labor is induced out of medical necessity or convenience, the methods used to induce contractions or soften the cervix can lead to a variety of complications that may cause injuries to the child or mother. Use of the drug Pitocin can cause intense contractions that may lead to asphyxia, placental abruption, or uterine rupture. Induced labor also increases the risk of infection, shoulder dystocia, or a prolapsed umbilical cord.

Is Assisted Delivery More Likely to Lead to Birth Injuries?

During delivery, a doctor may use tools such as forceps or vacuum extractors to help guide a child through the birth canal. If these tools are used improperly, they can lead to a variety of birth injuries, including skull fractures, brachial plexus injuries, or brain injuries caused by bleeding in or around the brain.

When Is My Child at Risk of Birth Injuries Because of Infections?

An infectious disease may be passed from a mother to her child during pregnancy or birth. Infections such as toxoplasmosis, Group B Streptococcus (GBS), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), foodborne illnesses such as salmonella or E. coli, or sexually transmitted infections such as HIV or herpes can all cause harm to a child. If a mother has one of these infections, doctors should provide proper monitoring and treatment during pregnancy to reduce the risk of injury to the child.

What Are My Options if My Child Has Experienced a Birth Injury?

Birth injuries can not only have an immediate impact on an infant's health, but they can impact their long-term well-being, and the need for ongoing treatment can cause significant financial difficulties for your family. At the Birth Injury Law Alliance, we can evaluate your case and determine whether your child's injury occurred because of medical negligence, and we will also help you understand your options for receiving the support that will address your family's immediate and ongoing needs. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at 312-945-1300.

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