Some babies might have a more difficult time traveling through the birth canal than others. Three of the reasons for this are the baby’s size, the way that he or she is positioned during labor and delivery or a combination of the two. As result of these factors, bone fractures can occur during the baby’s delivery. These fractures might be perfectly preventable.
A Baby’s Bones are Fragile
A fracture results when force applied to a bone is greater than the bone’s ability to absorb it. At 32 weeks into a pregnancy, a baby’s bones are fully formed. They’re soft and more flexible though because of high cartilage content. That high cartilage content is of great help to a baby in squeezing through the mother’s birth canal during delivery, especially when the head and shoulders come through. Even with the high cartilage content, a newborn’s bones remain fragile, so doctors, hospital personnel and midwives must use due care and caution during delivery, especially if a baby gets stuck in the birth canal.
There are three primary reason’s why a baby might become stuck in the birth canal during labor. First, the mother’s pelvis might be too narrow for the baby to pass through. Next, the baby might be large, especially if it’s a boy. Lastly, the birth position of a baby can cause him or her to become stuck. Although a perfectly positioned baby emerges head first, some are positioned feet first or even buttocks first. Either one of those positions are going to make passing through the birth canal difficult.
Danger in Getting Stuck
Any baby requires a constant supply of oxygen to survive. That oxygen comes from blood. The umbilical cord carries that blood to the baby. If the baby gets stuck in the birth canal, the umbilical cord becomes compressed, and a diminished supply of oxygenated blood flows to the baby. If a sufficient amount of blood isn’t present, the baby is at a high risk for brain damage. That’s why doctors want a baby’s journey through the birth canal to be as brief as possible.
Common Birth Fractures
If a baby does become stuck in the birth canal, the doctor might try to manipulate the baby into a more favorable position. If he or she is too forceful or rough, a fracture can result. Since the overwhelming number of babies enter the world head first, the most common type of delivery fracture is a clavicle (collarbone) fracture. While the doctor is pulling on the baby and turning it into position, sufficient stress might be put on the clavicle to fracture it. Pulling too forcefully on a baby’s arms or head might also fracture a clavicle.
Use of Vacuum or Forceps
A doctor might decide to use special type of vacuum or even forceps to help bring a baby out. Although those might make the process quicker, they can fracture a baby’s skull if they are improperly placed. With proper placement and technique, the risk of a clavicle fracture remains. There is also a risk of spinal cord damage.
Signs of a Fracture
There are times when during the delivery process, a doctor might actually feel a bone snap. At other times, there will be swelling and bruising at the location of the break. A baby might refuse to move a fractured limb too. An arm or a leg might just remain motionless. A x-ray is the best indicator of a fracture.
Although most infant fractures are easily treated, they shouldn’t be ignored either. Should a fracture be left untreated, the edges of the bone might permanently damage nerves, muscles and ligaments. A growth plate fracture might cause a bone to grow improperly. Blood clots might also result after an untreated bone fracture that result in infection. If the blood flow to part of a bone is diminished or cut off, it can die and collapse.
Louisville Personal Injury Lawyer
The law in Kentucky includes complicated procedures and deadlines for filing a medical negligence lawsuit on any birth injury. These add to the need for consulting with an experienced and effective Louisville birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. There is a limited time to file a claim, so it is important you speak directly to an experienced lawyer after a birth injury or loss of life. You can contact us for that consultation by phone or email on our easy contact form. It’s not going to cost you a penny to speak with us. If our investigation reveals medical negligence, we’re going to advise you accordingly. Then, we’ll discuss your legal alternatives. No legal fees are even due unless we obtain a settlement or award on your behalf.