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Causes of Infant Brain Injuries Every New Parent Should Know

Mother and Father with Newborn in Delivery Room

Childbirth is an extremely stressful time for everyone involved. Errors in delivery methodology or technique can have life-long impacts on a child’s wellbeing. To help parents identify these errors as early as possible, we’ve identified three causes of infant brain injuries every new parent should know.

Nuchal Cord

As babies tumble and kick inside the womb, the umbilical cord moves with them. Sometimes the umbilical cord gets wrapped around the baby’s neck. This condition is called Nuchal Cord. Studies have found that about 30% of healthy children are born with a nuchal cord.

The chance for injury is much higher if there is a knot or other pressure on the cord. If the baby pushes against the umbilical cord or if it is compressed while the baby is going through the birth canal, the oxygen supply will be reduced.

Nuchal cord and umbilical cord compression are usually treatable, so long as the medical team identifies the early warning signs and provides proper care as quickly as possible. However, if these conditions are unnoticed or untreated, the lack of oxygen may result in permanent brain damage.

Uterine Rupture

This injury occurs when the uterus tears, often because contractions are too powerful. Uterine rupture usually impacts mothers who have had a prior C-Section or other uterine surgery. Labor-inducing drugs, like labor induction and the augmentation drug Pitocin (oxytocin), dramatically increase that risk. Though less common, about 1-in-5 cases of uterine rupture occur without previous scarring. In any case, a uterine rupture is an emergency that requires immediate attention.

A uterine rupture will leave the mother in intense pain and jeopardizes her health. As the mother loses blood, the baby is cut off from oxygen. If the rupture is close to the placenta, it may exacerbate the effect or even cause a placental abruption.

Typically, a uterine rupture requires an emergency C-section to get the baby out safely. The longer the baby is cut off from oxygen, the more likely they are to suffer lasting brain damage.

Placental Abruption

This injury occurs when the placenta (the organ providing blood and nutrients for the baby) separates from the wall of the uterus. Placental abruption reduces the baby’s food and oxygen supply, which can cause brain damage or preterm delivery.

In rare cases, the placenta may block the cervix, preventing blood from escaping and further endangering the baby. This condition, “placenta previa,” may require an emergency C-section to secure the health of the mother and her baby.

Placental abruption is potentially life-threatening. Whether it occurs spontaneously or during a uterine rupture, the doctor and their staff must act quickly. Left unchecked, the mother is at risk of hemorrhaging (bleeding out) and the baby may suffer severe brain damage from the lack of oxygen.

If you or your child suffered birth injuries due to medical negligence, we are here for you. If you’d like an experienced North Carolina birth injury attorneys from Daniel, Holoman & Associates LLP to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (866) 380-2281.