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Birth injury and Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a condition that is the result of brain damage caused before, during, or after the birthing process. Cerebral palsy caused by birth injury is damage sustained during the birthing process, usually occurring during passing through the birth canal.

Cerebral palsy from birth injury usually occurs during a difficult delivery. A difficult delivery, with the risk of injury to the fetus, may occur if the birth canal is too small or the fetus is too large. This sometimes occurs when the mother has diabetes. Birth injury chances increase if the fetus is in an abnormal position prior to birth. While the rate of cerebral palsy diagnosis due to birth injury is much lower now than in previous decades, it is still a concern.

A cerebral palsy birth injury is caused by the general nature of the birthing process. In most births, the head is the first part to enter the birth canal and experiences much of the pressure during the delivery. Swelling and bruising are usually not serious and resolve within a few days. Cephalohematoma is a bleeding injury in which a soft lump forms over the surface of one of the skull bones but below its thick fibrous covering. A cephalohematoma will not cause cerebral palsy, does not need treatment, and disappears over a few weeks to months.

A cerebral palsy birth injury can sometimes take the form of a nerve injury, but nerve injuries don't occur often. Pressure to the facial nerves caused by forceps can result in weakness of the muscles on one side of the face. This birth injury is evident when the newborn cries and the face has an asymmetric appearance. No treatment is needed, and the newborn usually recovers within a few weeks.

Cerebral palsy birth injury is most likely during a difficult delivery of a large infant. Some of the larger nerves to one or both of the newborn's arms can be stretched and injured. Weakness of the newborn's arm or hand is usually the result of this birth injury. Occasionally during the birth injury, the nerves going to the diaphragm are damaged, resulting in paralysis of the diaphragm on the same side. This birth injury causes the newborn to have difficulty breathing.

Birth injury of the nerves to the newborn's arm and diaphragm can result in brachial plexus (Erb's palsy). Extreme movements at the shoulder should be avoided to allow the nerves to heal as much as possible. The arm and possibly the diaphragm remain weak after several months. In this case, surgery may be needed to reattach torn nerves. Most of the time Erb's Palsy occurs during the birth delivery process. Many infants that suffer this birth injury are large at birth.

Birth injury causes stem from a number of situations including untreated umbilical cord compression, unrecognized or untreated signs of fetal distress from pressure on the umbilical cord, the baby being stuck in the birth canal because of its size or the position of its descent down the birth canal, or the placenta being prematurely sheared by the birth process.

If your child suffered a birth injury from any of these conditions, you may be entitled to a settlement for medical malpractice. Due to the complicated nature of these claims, only an experienced attorney can evaluate your birth injury case. Contact an experienced birth injury lawyer to evaluate your case today.

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