If your child suffered a birth injury, you might wonder if it’s worth it to file a claim. That question can be a difficult one to answer for many reasons. There are financial, emotional, and practical considerations to address when it comes to childbirth injuries.
The circumstances in your case are unique, even if your child has what most people consider a “common” birth injury. Still, learning about some of the most common childbirth injuries can help you realize that you’re not alone. Instead, you’ll see that attorneys helped many others successfully secure a cash settlement to provide for their child’s lifelong care.
What Are Childbirth Injuries?
A birth injury is any injury that results during the childbirth and delivery process.
There are many different causes for childbirth injuries. Some deliveries are particularly difficult, and the trauma mom and baby must endure results in childbirth injuries. Perhaps the baby was especially large, or the size and shape of the mother’s pelvis won’t allow for vaginal birth. Some babies arrive prematurely, while others begin labor in the breech position.
Regardless of the cause, some childbirth injuries are so severe that they affect the child’s health for life. If this applies in your family’s case, then your child could potentially qualify for disability benefits. Sometimes, parents can also receive a large cash settlement to pay for unexpected medical expenses and professional lifelong care.
What Are Some Common Childbirth Injuries?
1. Brain Damage
This occurs when there is a lack of oxygen to the baby during delivery. This is called birth asphyxia. It can happen without warning or anyone realizing that it’s happening during delivery.
Oxygen deprivation at birth can cause developmental delays, intellectual deficits, and other issues. The injury’s extent depends on several factors, including:
- How long the baby went without enough oxygen
- How low the baby’s oxygen levels fell during the delivery process
- When and how soon the baby received the right treatment to fix this problem
Many babies with mild or moderate asphyxia might fully recover. However, more serious cases can cause extensive damage to the baby’s brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, bowels, and other organs.
2. Fractured or Misshapen Skull
A newborn’s head is soft because the skull’s individual pieces only fuse together after birth. Why? Because it helps the baby move through the mother’s birth canal more easily. But this also means it can result in childbirth injuries.
When medical professionals improperly use instruments like forceps to help deliver a baby, that soft skull can become misshapen or fracture. In fact, deliveries that don’t involve these instruments can also fracture a baby’s skull. However, that’s much less likely to happen.
3. Cleft Palate/Lip
About 1 in every 1,600 babies born in the United States have a cleft lip and/or cleft palate. Of course, this can happen naturally due to a change in the child’s genes. But experts believe the condition often results from a combination of genes and other factors. These factors include things that the mother touches, eats, drinks, or breathes in during her pregnancy. This can also include medications that pass from the mother’s system into the baby.
Specifically, studies show that taking medications like topiramate or valproic acid, both of which are used to treat epilepsy, during the first trimester of pregnancy can increase the risk of having a baby with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate.
4. Heart Defects
Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, though not all count as childbirth injuries. Such defects can affect the baby’s heart structure and how it works. They can also range anywhere from relatively mild to severe. For example: A small hole in the baby’s heart might be mild, while a missing part counts as severe.
Heart defects can affect many more areas of the baby’s body and future development. Because the heart pumps blood to every body part, when it cannot work properly, it can then damage other organs.
Studies also show some drugs, like opioid analgesics, can cause childbirth injuries and birth defects.
These are just a few of the most common birth injuries. Others include cerebral palsy, brachial palsy, facial paralysis, caput succedaneum, and cephalohematoma.
Should You Talk to an Attorney Who Specializes in Claims for Childbirth Injuries?
Knowing if you have a case when your child suffers a birth injury can be difficult. Thankfully, a birth injury attorney in our network can review your potential claim for free. If you’re ready to take the first step, simply click the link below.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Complete your free online birth injury case evaluation now!
Lisa Allen is a writer and editor who lives in suburban Kansas City. She holds MFAs in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry, both from the Solstice Low-Residency Program in Creative Writing at Pine Manor College. Prior to becoming a writer, Lisa worked as a paralegal, where she specialized in real estate in and around Chicago.