What to do if your baby suffers from a birth injury
If you ask mothers about their birth story, some might describe it as slow-progressing, joyous or even empowering. Others may opt for more dramatic terminology. The reality is that everyone experiences childbirth differently, and, unfortunately, for many, the event can be traumatic for both babies and their mothers.
Maternal health complications and doctors’ use of assistive tools can result in birth injuries that make what would have otherwise been an uneventful childbirth a life-altering one. Fetal macrosomia is 1 of many conditions that can result in long-lasting injuries or impairments for mother and child.
What is fetal macrosomia?
Doctors have specific charts they use to compare your pregnancy’s progression, and more specifically, your weight gain and baby’s growth, with that of typical pregnancies. According to those charts, babies weighing over 8 pounds, 13 ounces are classified as having fetal macrosomia. Medical researchers refer to a weight of 9 pounds, 15 ounces as a particularly severe case of fetal macrosomia.
Data compiled by the Mayo Clinic suggests that 9 percent of babies worldwide have fetal macrosomia.
What causes fetal macrosomia?
While genetic factors can increase the incidence of fetal macrosomia, other factors that increase the likelihood of fetal macrosomia include:
- Maternal obesity or excessive weight gain during pregnancy
- Previous childbirths
- Repositioning the fetus while in utero
- Gestational diabetes
- Pregnancies that extend beyond a mother’s due date
- A family history of fetal macrosomia
- Carrying more than 1 baby (multiples)
- Being pregnant with a boy
- Labors that require augmentation (medical intervention to help a slow or stalled labor)
How fetal macrosomia impacts both mother and baby
Fetal macrosomia impacts a fetus and its mother differently, although both can be at risk for potentially lifelong impairments.
Mothers may experience:
- Hemorrhaging associated with insufficient uterine contractions after giving birth
- A tearing of vaginal muscles and tissues
- Uterine rupture
- Need for assistive tools (such as a vacuum or forceps) in a natural delivery
- Need for a cesarean section (C-section) delivery
Some of the above-referenced factors may lead to issues that can affect a woman’s ability to have a vaginal delivery in the future.
Babies with fetal macrosomia also face complications associated with their condition, such as:
- An increased risk of obesity during early childhood
- Low blood sugar, increased blood pressure and other metabolic disorders
- An increased risk of shoulder dystocia injury
What is a shoulder dystocia injury?
Shoulder dystocia occurs when 1 or both of the baby’s shoulders become lodged inside their mother’s pelvis during childbirth. This birth complication generally occurs because babies are too large to seamlessly pass through the pelvic opening.
While it’s possible for doctors to successfully turn a baby and free their shoulder to pass through the pelvis without causing anying impairments to the mother or fetus, it’s estimated that up to 3 percent of babies experience a shoulder dystocia injury.
Shoulder dystocia injuries affect the brachial plexus nerves that are responsible for sending signals from your spinal cord to your shoulders, arms and hands, which allow these areas to move and function normally.
Many babies who suffer a shoulder dystocia injury only experience temporary setbacks, such as arm or collarbone fractures or temporary nerve damage. Others, however, are left with far moreing consequences, such as:
- Brachial plexus palsy. A condition resulting from damage to the brachial plexus nerves that can cause paralysis or weakness of 1 or both arms
- Horner’s syndrome. A rare condition that can affect the eyes and face and may result in a drooping eyelid or dilated pupils.
- Compressed umbilical cord. If the umbilical cord gets caught between the baby’s shoulder and the mother’s pelvis, blood flow can be compromised and brain injury could occur.
Doctors’ roles in preventing macrosomia
The best way to prevent fetal macrosomia is to receive adequate prenatal care. Pregnant mothers who remain active during their pregnancies and have their weight gain and blood sugar monitored can greatly reduce their risk of having a baby with fetal macrosomia.
Doctors have a duty to monitor pregnant mothers for potential risk factors for fetal macrosomia and adjust their care as needed. Appropriate monitoring of women during pregnancy includes regularly scheduled:
- Gestational measurements
- Blood tests
- Blood pressure checks
A pregnant mother who receives adequate monitoring and prenatal care from her OB-GYN can significantly reduce her baby’s chances of being born with fetal macrosomia.
When to contact a birth injury attorney
Doctors have a standard of care that they owe to their patients. If it appears that your OB-GYN deviated from the standard of care and that deviation resulted in an injury to you or your baby, you may have cause to file a medical malpractice claim. An experienced birth injury lawyer can review your specific case details and help you determine how to move forward and recover compensation.
If you believe your baby was injured as the result of a medical professional’s negligence, contact Laura Brown at Brown Trial Firm. Laura has dedicated her practice to advocating for children who have suffered birth injuries, serving families nationwide. She’ll investigate the truth and help you get the compensation you need to pay for the long-term medical care your child needs. Contact her today for your free consultation.
- Cerebral Palsy
- Caput Succedaneum and Cephalohematoma
- Neonatal Intracranial Hemorrhage (Childbirth Brain Bleeds)
- Hydrocephalus (Extra Fluid in the Brain Cavity)
- Cervical Dystonia
- Hemiplegia (Brain or Spinal Cord Injury)
- Hemorrhagic Stroke
- Neonatal Stroke
- Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) Brain Injury
- Infant Seizures
- Spastic Diplegia (Spasticity in the Legs)
- Top Risks for Birth Injuries
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- G-Tubes for Newborns
- Medical Errors
- Cesarean Section & Birth Injury
- Negligence in Brain Cooling Treatment
- Craniosacral Therapy
- Fetal Intolerance to Labor
- Jaundice (Kernicterus)
- Breech Position
- Placental Complications
- Placental Problems
- Umbilical Cord Problems
- Uterine Rupture
- Cervical Incompetence (Insufficiency)
- Blighted Ovum
- Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) - Intestinal Inflammation
- Cephalopelvic Disproportion
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
- Amniotic Fluid Embolism
- Birth Injury from Premature Delivery
- Developmental Delays
- Abnormal Cord Insertion
- Infections at Birth
- Chorioamnionitis Bacterial Infection
- Premature birth
- Oxygen Deprivation
- Birth-Acquired Herpes
- Placenta Previa
- Placental Abruption
- Mismanaged Fetal Malposition
- Obesity Related Birth Injuries
- Intrauterine Growth Restriction
- Blood Clots During Pregnancy
- Ectopic Pregnancy Misdiagnosis
- Myths & Facts About Birth Injuries
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Gestational Diabetes
- Maternal Mortality Risk
- Oligohydramnios (Low Amniotic Fluid)
- Infections During Pregnancy