Thousands of women give birth every day, and out of those births, a few are bound to go wrong. Birth injuries occur more often than you may think; however, many of them are temporary. Bruising and temporary nerve damage due to delivery are the most common non lasting birth injuries.
There are some injuries that occur during birth that are not temporary such as those to the brain. In fact, the effects of these injuries may not always show up until many years down the road.
The most common cause of fetal brain injury
Babies undergo an enormous amount of strain and stress during labor and delivery. While their bodies can withstand the rigors of birth (soft skulls, flexible joints, etc.), many internal organs are not. The brain is susceptible to injury if medical personnel is not paying attention to the signs of distress. The most common cause of brain injury during birth is oxygen deprivation.
Babies receive all their oxygen from the mother through the umbilical cord. Her breathing directly impacts the baby. If the mother experiences distress or dropping oxygen levels, so does the baby. Deprivation also occurs if the placenta becomes torn from the uterus or the umbilical cord becomes kinked or wrapped around the baby. Oxygen cannot flow as it should.
Long-term impacts of oxygen deprivation suffered during birth
When any lack of oxygen occurs, doctors should begin a monitoring protocol to follow the baby. Unless oxygen flow stopped for minutes, effects are not always evident. Some of the most common ramifications of oxygen deficiency include the following:
- Poor recall
- Impulse control problems
- Depression or anxiety
- Damage to specific motor functions
- Phantom pain
Some of these symptoms may not appear for years. Diligent supervision and monitoring of a child's developmental milestones and behavioral patterns is imperative for diagnosing traumatic brain injury at birth months or years later.
Some unforeseen events may occur during birth. Allowing a baby to be without oxygen for any length of time can have severe and far-reaching consequences.