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Common risk factors for birth injuries

If you or your baby experiences an injury before, during or after labor and delivery, this incident constitutes a birth injury. Minor birth injuries like scratches and bruises are common, but other injuries can lead to permanent disabilities.

Review the risk factors for birth injuries so you can discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Baby or mother size

Some women have a misshapen or small pelvis. With this condition, called cephalopelvic disproportion, the infant may require medical intervention during delivery. These measures, such as forceps and vacuum delivery, increase the risk for injury.

Another condition, fetal macrosomia, occurs when the fetus grows too large to pass through the birth canal. This may occur when the infant weighs more than 8 lbs. 13 oz. at birth.

Fetal position

Complications also become more likely when the fetus does not move into position for the birth prior to labor. If the baby is face-first or breech rather than head down, you may need a cesarean section or other interventions associated with a higher risk for complications.

Prematurity

The risk for birth injury increases if you have your baby before 37 weeks. Health complications can result if your child has not fully developed before birth.

Health care providers help patients avoid many birth injuries by offering prenatal care, monitoring the mother and infant during delivery, and providing appropriate guidance for potential complications and risks. If your child experiences a birth injury in Pennsylvania, you may have a legal medical malpractice claim. You can file this type of lawsuit within two years of your child’s diagnosis.