Having a child will always be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. But unfortunately, for some people, the birthing event itself can be exhausting, difficult, and even traumatic. Because for some people, the moment of birth gives rise to an unimaginable outcome; a birth injury.
We know that as a proud parent, you’ve been planning the birth of your child for weeks, months or even years. For some people, this is something you’ve been planning for an entire lifetime.
But, sadly, there are times when our best-laid plans do not come to pass. There are times when the wonderful dream can quickly turn into a harrowing nightmare.
A Birth Injury and Your Child
Some birthing events are not the wonderful experience we want them to be. Instead, they are mired in anxiety, grief, and shock.
We trust medical personnel every single day of our lives. We trust them with our own lives and with the lives of our nearest and dearest.
And mostly, we are correct to do so. But, medical mistakes happen. And, they happen with worrying frequency.
A birth injury is the result of a medical mistake. It happens through no fault of our own.
In some cases, the symptoms of a birth injury are immediately obvious, but in other circumstances, the consequences of a birth injury do not appear for days, weeks or even months after the birth.
Do you think that your family has been the victim of a birth injury? Unsure what to do next?
Help is finally at hand and knowledge is your ultimate power.
Read on to discover the need-to-know symptoms of a birth injury.
What Exactly is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is an injury sustained during the process of giving birth. That injury can occur just before birth, during birth or directly after delivery.
In most cases, a birth injury is preventable, and it’s usually caused by human error, medical negligence or medical malpractice.
The majority of birth injuries are caused by one of two things:
- Oxygen deprivation
- Delayed birth (anything over 18 hours)
Most of the time, delayed birth and oxygen deprivation occur because of medical error or malpractice.
Some possible causes of medical negligence include:
- Unnecessary delay in the birthing process
- Failure to spot fetal distress
- Administering incorrect drugs
- Not monitoring the baby or the mother correctly
None of these factors are within your control. They are instead within the control of your medical team.
Symptoms of a Birth Injury
A birth injury can come in many forms and the symptoms of each one can vary hugely.
While some birth injuries cause mild damage (facial bruising, small cuts), others can be catastrophic, with long-lasting, life-altering consequences. The most devastating birth injury is cerebral palsy.
Birth injuries appear in the following forms:
- Brain-related difficulties
- Muscle-related injuries
- Action-related injuries
- Health-related difficulties
Your baby may have just one of these difficulties, though in some cases a problem will manifest in all four areas.
In the hours, days and weeks after your child’s birth, some symptoms of a birth injury may become obvious.
Symptoms that May Appear Over the First Few Days or Weeks
A lot of the time, your instinct as a parent will kick in and you will sense that something is not quite right with your baby. In that instance, you may notice something long before medical personnel.
Though the following symptoms could be caused by other issues, these early symptoms may indicate a birth injury.
Symptoms Related to Your Baby’s Actions
In the immediate aftermath of birth, you may notice some symptoms in your baby’s actions. These may include:
- An arched back while crying. All babies cry, but if that crying is incessant and is accompanied by an arched back, get it checked out immediately.
- Excessive drooling.
- Seizures of any kind.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Difficulty Feeding. Serious issues with sucking, feeding and swallowing.
Symptoms Related to Your Baby’s Health
Other symptoms may make themselves obvious within the context of your baby’s health. Here are some symptoms to be watchful of:
- Low oxygen levels
- Low heart rate
- Persistent Coughing
- Poor weight gain
Symptoms Related to Your Baby’s Muscle and Bone Development
With your baby’s muscle and bone development, some difficulties may appear within the first few weeks. Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Skull fractures
- Looseness of muscles
- Stiffness in muscles
- Arm/hand bent towards the body
- Hand taking a claw-like shape
- Clenched fists
- Weak movements
- Strong favoring of one side of the body
- Poor reflexes
Symptoms That May Occur Later – The First 12 – 24 Months
Sometimes, a birth injury will not be immediately visible. As your child develops and becomes a toddler, you will notice different symptoms as they slowly appear.
Some of the following birth injury symptoms may appear in the first two years:
- Delay in motor skill development
- Limited mobility
- Intellectual disability – problem solving, memory, logical thinking
- Difficulties walking
- Difficulties grasping items like spoons, toys
- Ataxia – the loss of the full use of body movements
- Poor coordination
- Lack of muscle control
- Speech problems
For all toddlers, there are milestones in development that indicate that all is well. If your toddler is missing developmental milestones, this could indicate the presence of a birth injury.
Birth Injury and Legal Action – What Can You Do?
If you suspect that your child may have a birth injury, it is best to have them assessed without delay.
If you do receive a birth injury diagnosis such as cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy, remember firstly that you are not alone.
Thousands of families receive a devastating diagnosis every day and, though you may find yourself in a medical nightmare, with the right type of emotional support you can and will navigate your way through this ordeal.
Though the diagnosis will come with significant emotional trauma for you and your family, it’s important to consider the financial toll too.
That’s where receiving the very best legal advice will be critical.
The birth injury to your child is not your fault. It isn’t right and it isn’t fair.
Together, we can right some of those wrongs.
Together, we can receive the justice your child deserves.