Cesarean Section Birth Injuries
What Is a C-Section?
A Cesarean section, or C-section, is a surgical procedure in which the doctor delivers the baby through incisions made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. This procedure is frequently performed when complications could make a normal vaginal delivery dangerous or difficult for the mother or the child. Although C-sections can help prevent many birth injuries, this surgical procedure does carry risks, and in some cases, newborns suffer injury in Cesarean section deliveries.
Causes of C-Section Birth Injuries
Birth injuries in C-section deliveries are less common, but they do occur. Leading causes of injury to the infant in C-section deliveries include:
- Premature delivery
- Delayed decision to perform a C-section
- Medical errors during a C-section
Premature Delivery by Cesarean Section
Planned C-sections scheduled before the mother goes into labor can create risk for the child. If birth takes place two weeks before the due date, the baby can be pre-term. One week of development can make a significant difference in the risk of complications for the newborn. Pre-term babies are smaller and more fragile and have a higher risk of sustaining bruises and fractures during a C-section delivery.
The lungs are among the last parts of the body to develop. According to the Mayo Clinic, infants born by scheduled C-section are more likely to develop tachypnea (abnormally fast breathing during the first few days after birth). C-sections performed before 39 weeks may increase the risk of respiratory distress syndrome, a condition in which the child has difficulty breathing.
Delayed Decision to Perform a C-Section
The most common injuries associated with a C-section aren’t caused by the incision itself!
When a doctor does not recognize the complications of a vaginal delivery soon enough, or delays in making the decision to perform a C-section, the baby can suffer physical injuries and oxygen deprivation, which can cause damage to the brain. Oxygen deprivation can occur when the baby is in the birth canal too long, or when the child is too large and there is too much pressure on the head or umbilical cord.
Medical Errors During C-Section Surgery
In some cases, doctors injure the child while performing C-section surgery. In a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers identified fetal injuries in 1.1% of 37,110 Cesarean deliveries studied. Fetal injuries caused by physicians performing these surgeries included:
- Skin lacerations
- Cephalohematoma (blood beneath the dense, fibrous membrane covering the skull, caused by disruption of blood vessels during birth)
- Clavicle (collar bone) fractures
- Brachial plexus injuries (injury to the nerves that travel from the spinal cord in the neck down the arm)
- Skull fractures
- Facial nerve palsy (damage to the facial nerve that weakens the muscles of the face)
Did Something Go Wrong During Your C-Section?
At Birth Injury Safety, we understand how heartbreaking it is for parents when a newborn has suffered serious injuries at birth. If you suspect those injuries were caused by medical negligence, please call (214) 974-4121 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.