Becoming a parent is one of the most beautiful joys of life. Parents never want anything terrible to happen to their kids. Hence it is devastating for a family anticipating the lovely cries of their newborn to get news of a birth injury. Some people feel that their life has ended; others stay under a constant shadow of despair and loss. Regardless of the type of birth injury, the reactions are more or less the same for all parents.
Grieving and feeling a sense of loss are justified reactions, but staying in this condition does not help the child.
Hence, parents should gather strength to learn about birth injuries. Early treatment often improves the prognosis and puts the baby on the track of recovery.
A baby can have one of the many types of birth injuries commonly occurring in newborns due to trauma or undue stress before or during the time of labor and delivery. In some cases, the birth injury happens due to the negligence of the on-duty medical staff. In other instances, a congenital abnormality is found once the child is delivered. It occurs when the baby is not diagnosed with such a condition during the pregnancy or newborn screening. Hence, the injury becomes more visible over time.
Types of birth injuries
Brith injuries vary based on their symptoms, so their treatment differs. The common types of birth injuries include erbs palsy, cerebral palsy, skull fractures, newborn jaundice, to name a few. Below, you can learn more about birth injuries and their treatments.
Asphyxia and cerebral palsy
Asphyxia, commonly known as brain damage, is the most frequently occurring birth injury in a baby. It is characterized by oxygen deprivation. As a result of brain damage, the baby can also develop cerebral palsy— a set of disorders affecting the baby’s ability to maintain balance, move, and develop a normal posture. The name of the disease explains the place of its occurrence. Cerebral refers to anything related to the brain, and palsy means weakness, so, in totality, it is the weakness of the brain in a baby.
A baby with cerebral palsy has an abnormally developed or damaged brain, resulting in their inability to control their muscles. A baby with cerebral palsy may feel stiff, floppy or their head may lag. As the baby grows, it may not be able to roll over in either direction or bring its hands together.
Though cerebral palsy has no cure for complete recovery, treatments can improve the condition. Treatments for cerebral palsy include surgery, therapy (physical, occupational, speech), and medications. No single treatment is enough for your baby; therefore, always consult the doctor before starting a treatment.
It is another birth injury that you may find in your baby after birth. Erb’s palsy happens due to damage to brachial plexus nerves. This happens when pulling the baby with force during delivery with its shoulder stuck under the mother’s pelvic bone. This pull can cause a stretch to the brachial plexus nerves when the head and shoulder are at an angle with each other. Another reason is the inappropriate use of birth tools in a complicated delivery, resulting in loss of sensation or even paralysis in one of the arms.
In some babies, the issue might be minor and heals over time. However, a severe form of Erb’s palsy needs immediate treatment. Therapy is the most widely suggested treatment for Erb’s palsy. As the baby is in the developmental age, it can start making patterns with its hand, arm, and fingers. With early physical therapy, the baby can learn appropriate patterns. Other treatments include painkillers and relaxants.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries occurring at the time of birth often impact the neck area in infants. You should immediately contact a specialist if you detect a spinal cord injury. Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries do not cure until today. However, different treatments can improve your baby’s condition and make the injury less painful. The possible treatments include surgery to contain the damage, therapy to strengthen muscles, medications for pain control, and adaptive equipment to help your child with movements.
Another common type of birth injury is called newborn jaundice, where a baby’s skin turns pale. In most cases, the baby heals on its own after a few days; hence it is the most treatable condition. The possible treatments include light therapy to return the baby’s bilirubin levels to normal, exchange transfusion in severe cases, and Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg).
Birth injuries are common in newborn babies. Some birth injuries are curable, such as newborn jaundice, while others remain with your baby for their whole life. In any case, an early diagnosis and treatment can significantly increase the chances of recovery and improve your baby’s quality of life. The possible treatments for birth injuries include therapies to improve muscle movements, medications to relieve pain, and surgeries to contain the damage. No one treatment is enough to recover a baby from a birth injury; therefore, parents should always consult a specialist to get medical advice for suitable treatments.