An adverse event that occurs when you give birth and causes impairment of your newborn’s bodily function or structure is a birth trauma. There are many types of injuries that can result from birth trauma. They can affect all different parts of the body and range from minor to severe.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a complicated pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects. The following are some of the most common injuries to an infant resulting from birth trauma.
Abnormal presentations or difficult extractions can cause bone fractures during delivery. The most common of these, occurring in 15 out of 1,000 live births, are fractures of the clavicle, more commonly known as the collarbone. The humerus, which is the long bone in the upper arm, is also a common site for fracture during birth. Fractures of either bone can cause decreased movement and increased tenderness of the arm.
Sometimes the nerve roots of the neck become stretched during delivery. This can result in injury to the brachial plexus, causing partial or total paralysis that is usually temporary. The affected limb may experience permanent weakness in rare cases. There are 12 cranial nerves in the head, and the one that sustains injury most often from birth trauma is the facial nerve. This can result in facial nerve palsy that causes paralysis on one side.
Refinements to obstetrical techniques, such as decreased use of forceps and increased cesarean procedures performed in difficult cases, have caused the incidence of birth injuries to decline over the last few decades.