One of the most horrifying experiences that could happen to a new mother and father is complications during the birth of their child. When those complications lead to the child suffering from a brain injury, the effects will last a lifetime. There are three main causes, or mechanisms, by which brain injuries occur in babies either during or shortly after labor and delivery. These include, insufficient oxygen to the brain, trauma and reduced glucose.
Brain injury due to insufficient oxygen supplied to the brain is a frequent cause of brain injury during birth. There are many ways in which oxygen deprivation can occur during labor and delivery. While a baby is still in the womb, the baby receives oxygenated blood from the mother through the umbilical cord. If anything happens to the baby’s oxygen supply, brain damage can result. Umbilical cord compression, penta abruption (when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall prematurely) and ruptures of the uterus can all deprive a baby of oxygenated blood thereby causing brain damage.
When insufficient oxygen is getting to the brain, the injuries that result are compound themselves and exacerbate the injury. Insufficient oxygen to the brain causes neurons in the brain to die and breakdown, thus leaking the contents of the cell into the brain. When many neurons die in unison from insufficient oxygenation, a flood of broken down cells causes brain swelling. The swelling in turn causes compression of other blood vessels in the brain thus depriving other parts of the brain of oxygenated blood as well.
Trauma to the baby can occur in many ways during birth. Most commonly, the delivering doctor or midwife improperly uses delivery equipment, such as forceps or a vacuum extractor, which can cause too much force to be exerted on the baby’s soft skull. Sometimes labor itself can cause trauma to the baby’s head, particularly in cases where the baby is large compared to the mother’s pelvis or if the delivery takes a long time, thus exposing the baby’s head to prolonged periods of compression from contractions during the labor process.
Brain injury trauma can cause contusions and/or bleeds to occur in the brain, along with damage to blood vessels in the brain, and skull fractures. Any number of these injuries can further cause blood clots to form in the brain, which can lead to the baby having a stroke. Baby strokes, of course, lead to further brain damage.
Complicated or unduly long deliveries can cause an unsafe drop in the baby’s blood glucose levels, which can cause brain injury if left untreated. Newborns’ blood glucose levels should be checked as soon as possible after a long delivery.
Contacting a Birth Injury Attorney
Many complications can arise during a delivery, some of which can cause a brain injury to your child. If your child has been injured during the birth process, an experienced birth injury attorney can help you determine who should be held accountable for your family’s pain and suffering. Please contact us today to learn more
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