Childbirth is a miracle of life, but it does not come without its risks. While medical advancements have made the process safer over the years, complications can still arise that may lead to injuries for the newborn. According to the CDC, as many as 30,000 babies are born with an injury every year.
Awareness of these potential issues is important, not to cause alarm, but to prepare expectant parents for any challenges that might arise. Knowledge can also guide parents in taking preventive measures and seeking timely interventions.
Brachial plexus injury
During childbirth, excessive pulling or a baby’s particular position can lead to an injury to the brachial plexus — the network of nerves controlling the muscles of the arm. In many cases, the baby’s arm might appear limp, but with time and possibly physical therapy, many infants recover fully.
The clavicle or collarbone is the most commonly fractured bone during childbirth. This might occur if there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder or during a breech delivery. While it sounds alarming, most of these fractures heal on their own without intervention.
Facial nerve injury
Pressure during birth or the use of forceps for delivery can injure a baby’s facial nerve. If the baby does not move one side of their face or has difficulty closing their eye, it might indicate a facial nerve injury. In many cases, this injury heals on its own, but some infants might need physical therapy.
If your child suffers an injury during childbirth, remember to consult with healthcare professionals and ensure you have all the information and support you need. Early detection and intervention can make a significant difference in outcomes. Remember, every birth is unique, and the best approach is one of preparation, knowledge and open communication with your healthcare team.