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What are common injuries during childbirth?

Birth injuries are suffered during the birthing process. They can affect the mother or baby; usually, when birth injuries are discussed they're referring to the injuries that infants have suffered.

Many newborn children have minor injuries, and that's fairly normal. It can be normal for them to suffer nerve damage or broken bones as a result of passing through the birth canal. However, difficult deliveries can make it harder for these babies to be born, and doctors who don't step in could find that the child is not born in a healthy condition.

If a baby is too large to be born, for instance, the risks to the fetus and mother are high. Injuries can be likely, so it's common for the medical team to carefully monitor the delivery and then later decide to perform a Cesarean section if necessary. This C-section could mean the difference between a healthy delivery and a mother or child whose lives are at risk. When the child and mother aren't monitored correctly, it's possible for the baby to suffer from injuries like hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen reaching the brain, due to being left too long in the body during delivery.

Serious birth injuries are less common today than they used to be, but they still take place and can be devastating to a family. Things like asphyxia, head or brain injuries, or nerve damage could be a result of the natural birthing process, but they could also be a sign that you weren't cared for properly by your medical team.

Source: Merck Manuals, "Birth Injury," Arthur E. Kopelman, MD, accessed March 22, 2016

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