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3 of the most common birth injuries you should know

Having a baby is one of the most common reasons women seek medical treatment. A healthy pregnancy, however, does not always equal a healthy baby. There are times when things may not go as planned during childbirth, and your baby may suffer. What are some of the most common birth injuries?

Birth injuries are physical afflictions sustained during the birthing process. Some of the causes of birth injuries include the following:

  • Long-lasting labor
  • High birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Incorrect position
  • Pelvis shape and size

While birth injuries are not necessarily common, it is a good idea to know what they are ahead of time.

1. Paralysis of the face

Pressure on the face during labor may paralyze it. The use of forceps may also cause a similar injury if the pressure is too high. This type of injury is noticeable when crying. The side of the face that sustained the damage will not move. If the injury is a bruise, it will resolve in time. A tear in the nerve requires surgery.

2. Fractures

While tough to think about, babies may sustain broken collarbones during a particularly difficult extraction. The shoulders are the widest part of the baby, so in attempting to get a shoulder out, maneuvers may cause a fracture. The arm will hang limp. Luckily, a newborn's bones heal rapidly, so the break should improve within a few weeks.

3. Scalp swelling

Babies delivered via vacuum extraction may develop swelling of the scalp. As the baby moves down the birth canal, the head may become bruised where the device attached. A vacuum extraction may also leave cuts and abrasions which should heal in time.

Birth is a beautiful but difficult process for both mother and baby. Doctors attempting to move the process along may also cause unintentional harm. While the effects of these injuries are usually short-lived, it is a good idea to keep watching your baby for signs of something more serious requiring medical attention.

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