Childbirth can be both an incredible human feat for the mother and a challenge for the mother and child. Difficulties during childbirth can threaten the health and well-being of both the mother and the infant. In fact, nearly 30,000 infants become injured during childbirth each year in the United States.
Infants are particularly vulnerable as they’re pushed through the birth canal and contact their mother’s bones and tissues. This contact can result in broken bones and bruising. However, not all fractures and bruises from childbirth are so incidental. Medical tools can also cause injury to the child.
Common tools that cause injury
Unfortunately, even a doctor’s most commonly used tools can cause injury. Doctors often use forceps to aid during delivery but forceps can damage the infant’s face or head.
Vacuum extractions are another piece of equipment that is both helpful during a difficult childbirth but can also cause injuries like cuts and bruises on the child’s scalp. A doctor may use a vacuum extraction for prolonged labor or if there is a potential problem with the infant’s heartbeat or a problem with the mother’s heart.
Finally, another common cause of infant injuries during childbirth is the amount of force the doctor uses. Infants have more fragile bones and excessive force can lead to bruises or fractures. These injuries are sometimes preventable by tests like ultrasounds that can identify possible challenges during childbirth, such as the position of the baby in the womb.
Doctors must honor the trust families place in them
It’s no secret that childbirth can be challenging for the mother, infant, and even the doctor. However, the doctor has a responsibility to take as many precautions as possible to prevent harm to the mother and infant, including bruises, broken bones, and other injuries to the infant.