Broken bones or fractures occur during birth in newborns with certain genetic conditions that result in fragile bones. Injuries can also occur because of excessive pulling and tugging during delivery or due to the use of forceps to pull your baby into the birth canal. In some cases, broken bones can occur before or during normal deliveries. In some cases, such as when a birth becomes complicated by shoulder dystocia, the doctor will pull on the baby’s hands or head to remove them from the birth canal.
How Shoulder Dystocia Can Complicate a Birth
Shoulder dystocia occurs when your baby’s head has passed through the birth canal, but their shoulders become stuck inside your body, a study published in the Journal of Prenatal Medicine. This condition will require additional maneuvering to completely deliver your baby. This maneuvering can lead to a variety of birth injuries including fractures and broken bones. Shoulder dystocia is more common in large babies and can lead to fractures in your baby’s collarbone, arm, or leg. In some cases of shoulder dystocia, your physician might recommend a C-section delivery.
How a Forceps Delivery Can Cause Broken Bones
Forceps are a medical instrument shaped like a large set of salad tongs. During a forceps delivery, a member of your health care team—usually your doctor—applies forceps to your baby’s head to help guide them out of the birth canal.
Your doctor might opt for a forceps delivery when your labor is prolonged or stops progressing despite your best efforts at pushing. Forceps might also be used to deliver your son or daughter if your baby is in the birth canal, but you cannot push them out unassisted. According to Mayo Clinic, a forceps-assisted delivery carries risks to you that include perineum pain, genital tract tears, and difficulty emptying your bladder.
A forceps delivery also carries serious risks for your newborn including facial injuries, temporary facial palsy, external eye trauma, bleeding under the skull, and skull fractures.
Common Kinds of Broken Bones or Fractures That Occur During Birth
The process of labor and delivery can be strenuous and can result in several different types of broken bones or fractures occurring during the birth of your baby. Some common types of fractures include:
- Clavicle (collarbone)
- Humerus (upper arm)
- Femur (upper leg bone)
Arm or leg bone fractures might require a loose splint or a cast. Broken bones and fractures can cause discomfort and pain when your baby moves. They usually heal well with time and proper care.
How to Tell if Your Newborn Has a Broken Bone or Fracture
All broken bones are considered fractures whether the break is a small crack or a big break. Some of the symptoms of a bone break you might notice in your child include bones that look out of place, obvious swelling, tenderness when touched, lack of movement, and limbs that appear to be bent at an abnormal angle.
When your baby suffers from a broken bone or fracture at birth, it can be painful and requires immediate attention. Your baby’s broken bone will be diagnosed using a visual exam, X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Your baby’s medical team will also determine what caused your infant’s break or fracture.
How Fractures Are Treated
When broken bones or fractures occur during birth, you want your child to have a fast diagnosis and a speedy recovery. Your child’s medical team will order tests that allow them to visualize your baby’s bones.
These tests might include MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays. Once the location and type of your child’s broken bone is discovered, a doctor may suggest a splint or cast that encourages your child’s bones to remain immobile while becoming correctly realigned. Very small fractures may not require a splint or immobilization.
Birth Injury Lawsuits
At the end of your pregnancy, you expect to deliver a healthy baby. That is why it comes as a shock when broken bones or fractures occur during birth and your baby enters the world with an injury. When that happens, you want to understand the cause of your child’s injury and their prognosis for recovery.
When your baby is born with an injury, your attorney will become your ally in helping you get the financial compensation you deserve to provide the medical care your baby is entitled to. If your son or daughter was the victim of a broken bone or fracture at birth, speak to a lawyer near you. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 today for a free consultation.