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Category: Birth Injuries

Featured Question

Can a placental abruption result in injury or death of the mother?

A placental abruption is a condition that develops when the placenta peels away from the uterus during the term of the pregnancy.  Depending on the location of the abruption and… more »

Featured Question

Can a placental abruption or separated placenta result in harm to the baby?

Yes. A placental abruption (or simply referred to as an “abruption”) is a complication that develops when the placenta pulls away from the wall of the uterus before the delivery… more »

Featured Question

Is Erb’s palsy associated with medical error during labor and delivery?

Erb’s palsy (also known as brachial palsy, brachial plexus birth injury, Erb-Duchenne Palsy, Dejerine-Kumpke Palsy) is the paralysis of the upper brachial plexus.  The brachial plexus is a large network… more »

Featured Question

Can Group B Strep infections contribute to birth injuries?

Group B Strep infections can be particularly scary for expectant mothers because anyone, even healthy mothers, can carry GBS and may not even display any symptoms.

What is Group B

more »

Featured Question

Should parents be concerned if their child has been diagnosed with meconium aspiration syndrome?

Meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) is a condition where a newborn breathes meconium (newborn’s first stools – thick, sticky, greenish-black color) and amniotic fluid into the lungs before, during, or after… more »

Can a placental abruption result in injury or death of the mother?

A placental abruption is a condition that develops when the placenta peels away from the uterus during the term of the pregnancy.  Depending on the location of the abruption and the degree to which the placenta has pulled away from the uterus, hemorrhaging commonly develops.

Risk of hemorrhaging

The bleeding related to a placental abruption poses challenges for both mother… more »

What are the signs of brain injury in newborns?

As with cerebral palsy, it can be difficult to determine if your newborn suffered a brain injury.  This is because oftentimes symptoms will not be apparent until the child is around four to five years of age. This is because doctors often need to see your child move to check coordination and motor skills as well as evaluate… more »

Can Group B Strep infections contribute to birth injuries?

Group B Strep infections can be particularly scary for expectant mothers because anyone, even healthy mothers, can carry GBS and may not even display any symptoms.

What is Group B Streptococcus?

Group B Streptococcus (Streptococcus agalactiae, group B strep, or GBS) is a gram-positive streptococcal bacterium commonly found in the intestines and lower genital tract.  In adults, it is… more »

How does a doctor diagnose cerebral palsy?

Early signs of cerebral palsy may be present from birth. Most children with cerebral palsy are diagnosed during the first 2 years of life. But if a child’s symptoms are mild, it can be difficult for a doctor to make a reliable diagnosis before the age of 4 or 5. Nevertheless, if a doctor suspects cerebral palsy, he or she… more »

Can shoulder injuries (known as brachial plexus injuries or Erb’s Palsy) sustained during delivery be prevented?

Great debate has ensued in the medical community concerning what can be done to reduce the incidence of shoulder injuries sustained by babies during the delivery process.  Collectively referred to as: shoulder dystocia, Erb’s Palsy or brachial plexus injuries, this type of birth injury is sustained when the child’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone during vaginal delivery… more »

Can cerebral palsy be prevented?

It is now believed that cerebral palsy may be due to a variety of factors including genetic abnormalities stress put upon the baby during the labor and delivery process. These situations where stress is put upon a child during the labor and delivery process are usually deemed to be preventable.

Fetal monitoring

For example, the use of electronic fetal monitoring… more »

What are the risk factors for a child developing cerebral palsy?

Just as there are particular types of brain damage that cause cerebral palsy, there are also certain medical conditions or events that can happen during pregnancy and delivery that will increase a baby’s risk of being born with cerebral palsy. Research scientists have examined thousands of expectant mothers, followed them through childbirth, and monitored their children’s early neurological development to… more »

What is placenta previa, and does it pose a risk to baby?

Placenta previa refers to a condition when the placenta is too close to the uterine wall and  partially or totally covers the cervix. The placenta provides oxygen and nutrients to the baby during pregnancy and is attached to the umbilical cord. In addition to providing nutrients, it also removes waste products from the baby’s blood.

Symptoms of placenta previa

Symptoms… more »

Can a mother’s obstetric hemorrhage result in injury to the baby?

In 0.5% of all labors, mothers experience antepartum hemorrhage, otherwise known as excessive vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. There are two main causes of the complication: placental previa which accounts for 31% of obstetric hemorrhages and placenta abruption which accounts for 22%.

Complications associated with the placenta

Placental previa is a condition in which the placenta is attached too close to… more »

What can doctors do to prevent obstetric hemorrhage in mothers?

An obstetric hemorrhage is when a woman bleeds heavily during pregnancy, labor, or post-delivery. The bleeding is typically vaginal, but in some very rare cases there can be internal bleeding directly into the abdominal cavity.

Types of obstetrical hemorrhage

There are two types of obstetrical hemorrhage: antepartum hemorrhage and postpartum hemorrhage.

Antepartum hemorrhage

An antepartum hemorrhage refers to bleeding in… more »

What is a uterine rupture and does it pose a danger to mother or baby?

A uterine rupture is a tear in the wall of the uterus. Accounting for ninety percent of all cases, uterine rupture is most common among mothers who have had a previous cesarean section.

Scar tissue

During contractions the extra stress can cause the previous incision scar tissue to expand and stretch, and can eventually stretch thin enough to give way. … more »

Does inducing labor pose any threats to baby?

Inducing labor can not only pose a threat to the mother, but to the baby as well. There are various methods of inducing labor, the most common being the use of Pitocin, a synthetic oxytocin that is delivered through an IV to help speed up labor. It works by beginning or enhancing uterine contractions While Pitocin aids in speeding up… more »

Does inducing labor pose any threats to mother?

If labor is slow to progress, a doctor may suggest using the drug Pitocin to induce contractions. When given to a woman whose baby is being slow to make an entrance, the drug can speed things along. However, there can be adverse effects as well if the drug is improperly used or overused. Pitocin is a synthetic form of a… more »

What symptoms are associated with cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy symptoms are varied depending on the severity of the case and what parts of the brain have been affected. Some cases are very mild, while others are extremely severe. Symptoms will most likely present themselves before a child is 2 years old, and can become apparent as early as 3 months. As each developmental stage passes which include… more »

What are the causes of cerebral palsy?

There are many factors that can lead to the diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is caused by a brain abnormality or injury that usually occurs during pregnancy or a botched labor and delivery. There are several factors that can lead to problems with brain development.

Problems during labor and delivery:

Lack of oxygen to the baby during labor and… more »

Why is umbilical cord compression a concern for the fetus?

Umbilical cord compression is a problem that can occur during labor and delivery involving the cord being under pressure, which causes the baby to receive a reduced amount of blood and nutrients.  If the umbilical cord gets stretched and compressed during labor, it can lead to a decrease of blood to the baby, which results in a drop of the… more »

What can doctors do to prevent newborn jaundice or hyperbilirubinemia?

Jaundice, or neonatal hyperbilirubinemia is a straightforward medical complication that if left untreated, or treated improperly, can have a devastating consequence on the rest of an infant’s life.

Unchecked bilirubin levels

Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes.  A yellow pigment called bilirubin builds up in the blood, causing the discoloration.  Many babies who… more »

Are there problems associated with fetal monitoring?

The benefits of fetal monitoring are limited by human error.  Clinicians often make mistakes in their interpretation of fetal monitoring strips.  In addition, any dangerous deviations in heart rate must be diagnosed in a timely manner in order to prevent dangerous complications.

Reading fetal monitoring strips

It is important that clinicians have proper education and training to interpret fetal monitoring… more »

What is fetal monitoring and why is it relevant do evaluating cerebral palsy cases from a medical – legal perspective?

Electronic fetal monitoring (“EFM”) has helped decrease fetal and neonatal death rates by helping identify fetal distress.  Fetal monitoring is intended to prevent fetal hypoxia when it starts by monitoring the fetus in the womb and identifying signs of fetal distress.

Timing is crucial to responding to fetal distress

Fetal distress refers to an abnormal fetal heart rate pattern that… more »

What is the cause of CP?

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is caused by abnormalities or injuries of the brain that may develop in utero, during delivery or immediately following birth.  Rather than one particular cause for this life-changing medical complication, it is important to understand that the reasons for the development of CP may derive from a one or more of the following contributing factors.

Hypoxia during

more »

Can umbilical cord complications result in an injury to the infant?

Most women experience normal, healthy pregnancies with few or no complications during delivery.  However, in order to prepare yourself for pregnancy be aware of your options, it is important to educate yourself as to possible complications and have an open and honest dialogue with your doctor.  It is understandable that you want to focus on the positives in having a… more »

What does cephalohematoma indicate in a newborn baby?

Cephalohematoma (photos) is bleeding under the baby’s scalp, causing a bruise.  This can occur as a result of pressure exerted on the baby’s head during delivery.  The swollen and bruised area is usually on one side of the top of the baby’s head.  There are usually no long-term complications or problems.  Within a week or two, the blood… more »

What is vasa previa and can it harm a baby?

Vasa previa is an obstetrical complication where the blood vessels in the placenta go under the baby and cross the cervix.  As a very rare medical complication, the incidence of vasa previa ranges from 1 in 1275 to 1 in 8333 births. The cause of vasa previa is unknown.  In cases where vasa previa is known, cesarean delivery is… more »

What is an umbilical cord prolapse?

An umbilical cord prolapse is where the cord enters the vagina before the baby through the open cervix.  Then, as the baby is delivered, it can put pressure on the cord, cutting off blood flow and oxygen to the fetus. Risk factors include: Long cord length Premature birth Breech (foot-first) position Excess amniotic fluid Umbilical cord prolapse can create an… more »

What is an umbilical cord cyst?

Umbilical cord cysts are outpockets in the cord that can be visualized with an ultrasound in the first trimester.  There are two types of cysts: true cysts and false cysts.  True cysts are lined with cells and have remnants of embryonic structures inside, whereas false cysts are just fluid-filled sacs. When large cysts occur near the umbilical cord insertion, doctors… more »

What is a single umbilical artery?

A normal umbilical cord contains one vein and two arteries, carrying blood and oxygen to the fetus and waste products away from the fetus.  In some pregnancies, the umbilical cord has only one artery instead of the usual two (photos).  Single umbilical artery (SUA) is found in about 1% of single fetus pregnancies and aobut 5% of multiples… more »

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