Identifying a birth injury

When you hear the words "birth injury," most people assume that the injuries are obvious immediately after the baby is born. But that's not always so.

Here's what parents need to know about birth injuries:

1. The possibility of a birth injury starts during pregnancy.

There are warning signs during pregnancy that a birth injury is more likely to occur. Doctors should take precautions whenever the mother:

  • is older
  • has an autoimmune disorder
  • has gestational diabetes
  • has preeclampsia

Alternatively, birth injuries can also occur when the baby is larger than normal or presents in a breech position when the mother goes into labor.

All of these conditions call for a carefully considered approach toward delivery. Patients may want to discuss the possibility of a C-section instead of risking a vaginal birth.

2. You need to watch for developmental issues.

Most newborn babies are passive little bundles of joy. Since they lack muscle tone, it can be difficult to spot anything but the most obvious injuries.

As your baby starts to move around more, watch for the following problems if your baby:

  • doesn't develop the ability to hold up his or her head.
  • constantly arches his or her back as if in pain.
  • seems to be extremely floppy and has a limp arm or an obviously weak hand.
  • doesn't roll over by six months of age.
  • only seems to be using one hand to lift, reach, grab or pull.
  • starts to experience seizures.
  • fails to crawl or has not learned to walk after a year without support.

Sometimes a baby's development is just a little delayed. Other times, you may have a serious problem. If you have any concerns, it's always better to have a doctor examine the baby.

If your child has a birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation that can help you provide for the treatment and care your child needs. Talk to an attorney about your options.

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