Maternal Injuries vs. Newborn Injuries
Birth is an extraordinary event, with so much riding on the outcome. When all goes well, it seems like a miracle. But when complications or mistakes occur, mothers and babies risk injury, especially if their healthcare providers do not prepare for a complicated birth. In addition, when medical professionals make mistakes that they should not have made, given their education and experience, mothers, babies, and their families may suffer temporarily or permanently.
Birth injuries come in various forms, range in severity, impact certain bodily parts, and can leave the mother, the baby, or both partially or permanently disabled and impaired. When compared to moderate injuries, which may heal over time or with treatment, severe birth injuries can leave a mother or a newborn permanently physically or psychologically disabled.
If this tragically impacts you, your baby, or someone you love, you might be eligible to file a claim for financial compensation. A successful claim can assist you in covering your medical bills and other costs if there is evidence that the birth injuries were caused by negligent behavior or medical malpractice by a physician, hospital, or medical staff. You may not know your options and available recourse without a skilled birth injury attorney’s review and investigation.
Our talented team of birth malpractice lawyers supports mothers and kids who suffered injuries during childbirth in New Jersey. Contact Fronzuto Law Group at (973) 435-4551 if you believe negligence played a role in a mother or baby’s medical complications or issues before, during, or after delivery. You may also use our online contact form to request a free consultation. We encourage you to benefit from a free review of your case to fully understand and assert your right to just compensation.
What Kinds of Birth Trauma Happen to Babies?
Both mothers and newborns may suffer injuries during birth, though some injuries are typical to childbearing, while others may be due to negligent healthcare providers. Regardless of the cause, newborns experience birth trauma, enduring the compression of contractions and the journey squeezed down the birth canal or extracted by cesarean section after an unsuccessful attempt at vaginal birth. Birth trauma can cause a fetus’s heart rate to dysregulate, or their oxygen supply diminishes, causing brain and organ damage. They can also include tears, sprains, and fractures from the journey down a tight path. Those injuries can range from superficial to life-changing as all body areas are affected. Aside from bruises and fractures from birth, newborns can suffer oxygen deprivation that causes brain damage, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, and permanent cognitive disability. In addition, they can tear shoulder and neck nerves with shoulder dystocia or brachial plexus injuries, leaving temporary or permanent inability to use hands and arms.
Maternal Injuries that Impact Mothers in Childbirth
Maternal injuries occur primarily from pushing a baby out at the birth site, and so injuries occur there frequently. Maternal injuries most often occur in the pelvic and perineal areas. The pelvic region, including the pelvis and the organs it holds together, such as the uterus, bowel, and bladder, can tear and stretch out permanently. If the pelvic muscles are injured, they may not ever recover strength, and therefore, the mother suffers organ prolapse. The bladder and bowel sink, causing urination and defecation problems. In addition to the pelvis, maternal injuries occur at the perineal site. It is common for birthing women to tear the perineum, the area between the vagina and anus.
Tears, bumps, bruises, and broken bones are some of the injuries occurring at birth. The baby’s head crowning on its way out of the canal often causes the most stretching and tearing. To control the tear, attempting to prevent a jagged tear that is harder to heal, doctors or midwives cut the perineum by performing an episiotomy. Tears can be painful and take time to heal, making postpartum healing more challenging.
Another serious perineal injury is pudendal neuralgia or perineal nerve damage. The condition can be quite painful and affect daily activities, like sitting, going to the bathroom, and having sex. The pain may be a shooting, burning, or prickly sensation. Some women experience numbness. And finally, hemorrhoids are not uncommon after the pushing phase of labor. Inflamed veins surrounding the anus may cause pain or itchiness, though they typically resolve with soothing topical medications. Compared to newborn birth injuries, many maternal injuries are temporary or nuisances, even though some permanent conditions can affect a woman’s quality of life.
Physical injuries from childbirth can leave the mother and baby hurting, unable to enjoy the new life emerging from the experience. They may separate at birth to heal one or the other or both. And while both experience physical pain and suffering, the mother is more susceptible to emotional trauma from the birth experience marred by an injury to either or both. A mother is aware of her pain if she is injured but also fears for her newborn’s survival if they are injured. They can see the future troubles ahead and a dream of motherhood shattered if their newborn’s injury is severe
Steps for Avoiding Injuries and Complications in the Birthing Process
There is a long list of birth-related injuries and complications for both the mother and the newborn, many of them can be avoided or foreseen. Medical personnel should be in the capacity to detect any potential risk factors, such as the size, weight, and position of the baby before the birth moment or any other information obtained from the medical records. They should also manage to use medical equipment timely and adequately. The hospital medical staff owes you and your baby a standard duty of care during birth that takes care of possible errors and responds appropriately to taxing labor.
Size and Position Issues
Both mother and child get injured when the baby is not in the correct position to safely exit the birth canal, which is headfirst. For example, a baby positioned feet downward and head toward the mother’s chest may get stuck in the pelvic region, causing injury or death. Similarly, a baby too large for a mother’s pelvic may get stuck and prolong labor. In addition, shoulder dystocia is common with large babies when the shoulder gets stuck coming out of the canal. Size and position can also lead to brachial plexus injury when wrenching of the baby’s neck occurs and nerves stretch or tear. Torn nerves affect the baby’s ability to use their arms or hands. Likewise, a malformed pelvis can cause delay and trouble delivering the baby.
Efforts to Expedite Labor
When a baby is stuck, a doctor may try to help the baby out with birthing assistance tools, like forceps or vacuum extractors. Those too can cause injuries to mother and baby. In addition, labor complications where contractions are too weak to progress the labor or delayed onset of labor may cause an obstetrician to induce labor with medications that cause intense contractions.
Surgical Deliveries can Injure Moms and Babies
Fetal distress may cause an emergency cesarean birth after any of these conditions occur or are present. Cesarean deliveries can prevent severe injury or death when the baby cannot exit the birth canal, but cesarean birth risks are plentiful, too. Hemorrhaging, anesthesia complications, scarring, infection, blood clots, and organ damage are just a few perils of surgical births.
Postpartum Treatment to Recover from Maternal Injuries
Postpartum treatment for maternal injuries may include stitches, vaginal pessaries, surgical reconstruction, or physiotherapy to strengthen the pelvic muscles or alleviate incontinence.
What is the Recovery Process for Newborns?
For newborns, treatment depends on the damage. Some injuries heal in time, but others require physical, emotional, and cognitive therapies for their lives. Cerebral palsy or other brain injuries, when severe, may require special medical and adaptive devices to help a child do ordinary activities, like eat, move, read, hear, speak, or walk.
Financial Hardship when Maternal or Infant Trauma Happens to You or Someone You Love
Maternal and newborn birth injuries can result in ongoing financial hardship. When a medical professional causes injury through negligence; for example, by not monitoring the pregnancy or labor close enough to be prepared for a breech birth or large baby, they may be responsible for the damages. Moreover, doctors sometimes misuse birth instruments and cause babies injuries or fail to detect fetal distress. As a result, they can cause incredible losses to a family.
Explore Legal Options for Maternal or Newborn Harm in NJ
If your healthcare team failed you and your baby, amounting to medical malpractice, seek advice from an authoritative legal professional. You may have the option to sue doctors, nurses, or hospitals for compensation when they fail to provide the necessary care at such an important time. For your injuries and your baby’s, get the representation you can trust.
Contact Fronzuto Law Group at 973-435-4551, toll-free at 888-409-0816, or by completing our online form to discuss the injury suffered by the mother, the baby, or both, in a childbirth situation, and how we can help you achieve compensation through legal action.