Many individuals feel that giving birth is one of the most exciting and meaningful experiences of their lives. However, childbirth may also be a physically traumatic experience for both the mother and the baby. Birth injuries may range from mild to severe, and some may have lasting consequences. While some birth injuries may happen due to unpreventable health conditions or unforeseen circumstances, others happen due to malpractice. For example, improper use of forceps to assist with delivery may lead to severe cranial bruising, bleeding or nerve damage in the baby.
Many types of birth injuries affect babies. In some cases, birth injuries occur for physiological reasons, such as the baby being large or the labor process being long and difficult. Stanford Children’s Health states that there are other possible causes of birth injuries: premature delivery, complications from a cesarean delivery or the use of forceps. Some common injuries include swelling of the baby’s head, collarbone fractures and broken blood vessels in the baby’s eyes.
In some cases, birth may also lead to physical injuries and complications for the mother. According to U.S. News and World Report, the rates of injuries to mothers in the United States is extremely high. In fact, the U.S. is the most dangerous developed country in which to give birth. The U.S. News article states that approximately 700 new mothers die after childbirth and over 50,000 suffer from severe childbirth-related injuries. In many cases, these injuries and fatalities happen due to negligence. For example, 90 percent of fatalities due to childbirth-related hemorrhaging were preventable but occurred because medical personnel failed to take necessary actions to address the bleeding. Implementing the safety practices of countries with lower maternal injury rates may reduce the rate of birth injuries in the U.S.