Delayed Birth Injury

Did you know that a baby in the birth canal for more than 18 hours is the same thing as a baby in medical distress? This length of time can lead to a host of medical threats to the baby, and so action is usually taken if such a case arises. We might hear many women say that they were in labor for dozens of hours, but any instance in which delivery is longer than is healthy or safe can lead to serious harm to the baby. There is an actual diagnosis of such an issue, and it is called delayed birth. In such cases, the baby can actually suffer what are known as birth injuries, with one of the worst being oxygen deprivation.

Understanding Birth Injuries

Although we all think of childbirth as an exciting (if painful) experience which ends when a baby is welcomed to the world, it must also be seen as a process that is a bit risky to the mother and the infant. There are many medical challenges, and that is why the best circumstances for any childbirth are those in which medical experts and full support are available. When this is the situation in which childbirth occurs, it eliminates the risks of almost any serious threats, but there are still times when accidents or mistakes occur. For example, the use of forceps or vacuum extraction can cause a host of birth injuries to a baby ranging from severe to mild. Additionally, any sort of physical manipulation can lead to problems, failing to properly monitor the baby during delivery can cause trouble, and delaying delivery can also present some serious issues as well.

The Risks Involved With Delayed Birth

As already stated, a baby in the birth canal for 18 hours or more is seen as being in fetal distress. This is due to the tremendous pressures inside of the birth canal that cause the baby's organs to be compressed. While the human baby is actually designed to survive such pressures on the brain, spine, lungs, and organs, it is not meant to be endured for more than a few minutes or hours. Anything longer than that and a lack of oxygen may lead to serious medical issues. Key among these issues is brain damage. In fact, the most common birth injuries due to delayed birth are brain related injuries such as cerebral palsy, Autism, and Asperger's syndrome. There is also the risk of spina bifida, hematoma, and what is known as umbilical cord prolapse (in which the umbilical cord passes through the cervix before the baby).

The Symptoms

When delayed birth occurs, a medical team is going to monitor the baby immediately for signs of distress and injury. While there are obvious signs such as lack of oxygen, bruising, and even broken bones, a brain injury may manifest differently. Parents and medical experts must be vigilant for signs of neurological and brain damage as these lead to serious developmental disorders and delays. For instance, asymmetrical movements of the limbs, an inability to suckle, excessive vomiting, and unnaturally harsh crying are all indicators of birth injury.

Next Steps

If any sort of birth injury is suspected in a child who was victim of delayed birth, the medical team is likely to run a host of imaging tests and diagnostics. They will look for neurological problems, issues in the brain, metabolic issues and more. Should a baby be diagnosed with a major brain birth injury, it is going to mean that they will require extensive care. Though parents may feel hopeless in the moment they are told something has gone wrong, they should also know that avoidable birth injuries, including those due to delayed birth, are cause for malpractice cases. As difficult as it might be to pursue such a case, medical expertise can and should prevent delayed birth injuries. Source:
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