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Birth injuries can cause cerebral palsy in newborns

North Carolina parents are devastated when they learn that their otherwise healthy newborns suffered disabling birth injuries that often lead to cerebral palsy. The reasons for these birth injuries are myriad, but commonly include too-long labors that can lead to oxygen deficiencies when the baby gets stuck in the birth canal. Tragic results can stem from the mother's spiking a fever late in the pregnancy or during delivery due to an infection or other condition like failing to deliver within 24 hours of the breaking of the maternal waters.

Sometimes, obstetricians and midwives don't properly monitor women who are in labor and fail to notice impending signs of fetal or maternal distress that can lead to cognitive challenges or physical abnormalities. Often, the common denominator in these tragedies is a lack of oxygen.

An overly large fetus that fails to properly descend into the birth canal can be deprived of critical minutes of oxygen while the doctor tries to deliver the child via an emergency Caesarean section. Sometimes, the anesthesiologist may prescribe too much medication in the mother's epidural. Her contractions may be so weak that she is unable to fully expel the baby from the womb.

Sometimes, the mother's blood pressure will drop precipitously, or there can be problems with the placenta or with the umbilical cord wrapping itself around the baby's neck. Doctors have to stay alert and focused on fetal and maternal monitors to ensure that both mother and baby make it safely into the world.

Sometimes, birth injuries are immediately apparent, such as when obstetricians resort to using a vacuum or forceps to release the fetus from the birth canal. If they are not extremely careful, these delivery tools can wreak more harm. Other initial indicators of a birth injury include low Apgar scores, which are given to the infant within the first three to five minutes after being born. Any child with a significantly low Apgar score should be evaluated for symptoms of cerebral palsy or other birth injuries

While you may be stunned and shattered by your baby's birth injuries, it is important to work quickly to preserve evidence and obtain witness statements as soon as possible after the birth event if you intend to seek legal redress for your baby's disabled condition.

Source: Danielle's Foundation, "Birth Injury" accessed Feb. 06, 2015

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