Though birth trauma is much more common in other countries than it is in the United States, it is still a serious problem and something that any father or mother would want to avoid. There are many types of birth trauma and injuries that can occur during the procedure, but most of these different traumas are caused by a few types of causes. Some of these birth trauma causes are avoidable or could be mitigated, so it’s helpful to have a strong understanding of them.
Difficult and Delayed Births
Delivering a baby is a very difficult procedure. As the baby is being delivered, there is a lot of pressure being put on the baby from the mother’s body as he or she is being pushed out. A baby’s body can typically handle this pressure, but if a delivery takes too long to complete or if there are other unusual characteristics of the delivery, it can result in birth trauma.
Once a delivery lasts longer than 18 hours, it is considered a difficult birth, and the baby’s body is probably under a lot of stress. Some of the birth trauma causes related to delivery include:
- Size of the Baby: When babies weight over eight pounds, 13 ounces, they are generally more difficult to deliver.
- Size of the Pelvis: If a mother has a small pelvis or pelvis not large enough for the baby’s head, also known as cephalopelvic disproportion, it can lead to a long and dangerous procedure.
- Premature Delivery: When a baby is born before 37 weeks, their bodies are generally less developed and weaker, so there is a higher chance of trauma and injury.
- Unusual positioning of the baby: If the baby’s body is in an unusual position as it’s being birthed, it can increase the risk of injury.
- Other difficulties in delivery: There are many other reasons why a delivery may be difficult or delayed, or prolonged.
Anoxia, or lack of oxygen, is another one of the important birth trauma causes. Like any individual, a baby requires a steady supply of oxygen to his brain and his body. During childbirth, this can become a very dangerous situation because the baby will be especially vulnerable.
There are a few different reasons why a baby may be deprived of oxygen during labor. For example, if the umbilical cord drops ahead of the baby in the vagina, also known as a prolapsed umbilical cord, it can make delivery more difficult. If the baby puts too much pressure on the umbilical cord at this point, it could decrease their flow of oxygen, resulting in anoxia.
Though rare, umbilical cords can also become twisted with themselves or with the baby, which can also cause anoxia. Another of the birth trauma causes related to lack of oxygen is undeveloped lungs. Depending on the baby’s condition and the timing of the labor, he or she may not have developed strong enough lungs to begin breathing outside of the womb.
Malpractice by the Medical Staff
Though rare, another potential type of birth trauma causes is malpractice by the medical staff and physician. Some cases of trauma are caused by negligence and misconduct by medical professionals, but this does not happen very often. It is more common that medical professionals make small mistakes or fail to diagnose or foresee complications in the delivery. Because of the vulnerability of the baby during a delivery, these small mistakes can lead to dangerous complications. Regardless of their intentions, actions from the doctor and medical staff can cause serious birth trauma and result in lifelong consequences and difficulties for a child.