• My baby was stuck in the birth canal; what problems might it have later?

Childbirth is a physically traumatic experience for both mother and child, even when everything goes as planned. However, complications can arise during the labor and delivery process that put a child’s health at risk. One of the most common birth complications involves a baby getting stuck in the birth canal, which can lead to severe injuries to both the mother and child. 

Before delivery, doctors determine how a baby is oriented in the birth canal. Ideally, a baby’s face will be turned toward the mother’s back, with their head pointing towards the mother’s feet. This allows the safest passage for a baby through the birth canal. However, sometimes babies are situated in dangerous positions, including:

  • Face presentation –The baby’s neck is hyperextended.
  • Breech presentation – The baby’s feet are positioned to come out first.
  • Shoulder presentation – The baby is curled against the mother’s pelvis.

In these situations, a doctor may recommend a cesarean section to reduce the chances of serious injury during the birthing process. Some issues that can occur if a baby gets stuck in the birth canal include:

Erb’s Palsy: Erb’s palsy is a nerve condition characterized by weakness or an inability to move one or both arms. Often Erb’s palsy occurs when a baby’s neck is stretched too far during delivery. It can also happen when a baby’s shoulders cannot safely pass through the birth canal, often in cases of shoulder dystocia. In rare cases, some babies who suffer from Erb’s palsy are paralyzed due to permanent damage to the nerves in the shoulder.

Laryngeal Nerve Injury: A baby may experience vocal cord injury if their head flexes or rotates during labor and delivery. It can cause a baby to have a hoarse cry or experience difficulty swallowing. A baby’s condition will often improve within a few months of birth. 

Bone Fractures: Sometimes, the trauma of a difficult birth can cause a fracture, or break, in a baby’s bone. Usually, the affected bones are in the shoulder or arm. 

Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a group of nervous system disorders characterized by physical and cognitive development issues. Cerebral palsy has several potential causes, one being a lack of oxygen during the birthing process. If a baby gets stuck in the birth canal, it may place excessive pressure on the baby’s head, neck, chest, or umbilical cord. This can cause oxygen deprivation. A baby deprived of oxygen for a long enough period may develop cerebral palsy. Contact the dedicated Michigan birth injury lawyers at Sommers Schwartz, P.C., for immediate assistance if your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy or born with a serious birth injury. Our medical malpractice birth injury attorneys have a nationwide reputation for excellence and are steadfastly committed to advancing our clients’ interests at every possible opportunity. We also offer free consultations and can be reached at https://www.sommerspc.com/.

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