How Vaginal Birth Injuries can Cause Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is caused either by damage to, or abnormal development of, the brain either during pregnancy, delivery, or after birth. This results in the inability to control muscles and a difficult life for both the parents and child. Precautions can be taken during and after pregnancy by regularly seeing your doctor and following their instructions. The development of CP is unfortunately often the result of medical malpractice or inattention by the attending doctors or nurses.

The most common injuries sustained during childbirth that result in CP as being nerve damage, asphyxiation, and improper use of an epidural. Nerve damage can be caused during a regular delivery when the doctor could simply pull too hard or twist the baby’s head and neck in the same direction. There can also be cephalopelvic disproportion, which is when the baby’s head is bigger than the mother’s pelvis. Most often the baby just needs a little help to get through by the use of forceps, vacuum, or other medical tool. Misuse of these devices can result in nerve damage and the development of CP.

Asphyxiation starves the baby’s brain of oxygen and results in irreparable damage. Asphyxiation can be caused from the premature separation of the placenta, the umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck, or if the baby fails to breathe on its own after birth. Breathing delays of longer than three minutes are at risk for brain damage. Therefore, the birthing team must be attentive and react quickly to such problems to prevent harm to the infant.
Lastly damage can be cause by the improper use of an epidural. Most common is an improper dosage. If the mother is given too much of the drug, her heart and breathing rate slows. This lowers the oxygen levels in her system and can result in asphyxiation of the infant.

Cerebral palsy seriously affects the lives of parents and children and sadly is often the result of birthing injuries. Contact a personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer in your area to learn more about legal options related to birthing injuries.