According to a report by HealthDay, researchers recently released a study on the risk factors of cerebral palsy and early infant death. Medical journal Obstetrics & Gynecology published the study on September 9.
Researchers from the U.S. and Australia put together their resources and efforts for the study. They exchanged and compared the medical records of children with cerebral palsy and infants who had passed within a month of their birth with those of healthy children to determine what risk factors consistently contributed to these birth afflictions.
Risk factors included asphyxial birth events, where a newborn’s brain is deprived of oxygen during labor and delivery. Another risk factor was inflammation, a likely sign of infection. Read the rest »
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that run from the spine through the neck and into the arms. It is essential to the functioning of hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulder. Brachial plexus injury can occur if the nerves are torn by excessive stretching and other pressures. If the damage is severe enough, loss of feeling in the arms and hands can occur. Recovery is possible as new nerve fibers can grow to replace the damaged ones; however, in extreme cases, total paralysis of the limbs may result.
What Can Cause an Injury?
Brachial plexus injuries that occur during birth are usually preceded by shoulder dystocia. This occurs when a baby comes down the birth canal in an awkward position and the baby’s shoulder gets stuck on the way out. A doctor may apply excessive force while pulling on the baby’s head, stretching the brachial plexus. If the applied force is too severe, the nerves are torn and the brachial plexus is damaged. Read the rest »
A birth injury is any injury that occurs to a baby during delivery and is typically caused by medical negligence. A very dangerous type of birth injury is a placental cerebral infarction, which affects the flow of blood from the placenta to the fetus. As a form of cerebral hypoxia (which is a reduced supply of oxygen to the brain), this birth injury reduces the supply of oxygen to the baby’s brain during operative surgery or various stages of development. Placental cerebral infarction can result in cerebral palsy or other disabilities depending on which area of the brain is damaged due to the reduced oxygen.
Causes of Placental Cerebral Infarction
A fetus’ supply of oxygen can be affected both during pregnancy or the labor and delivery. There are a number of problems during pregnancy that may cause placental cerebral infarction, including: fetal anemia; lung malformations; cardiac disease; maternal diabetes; congenital fetal infections; and preeclampsia. In addition, when a doctor performs a Caesarian section or another operative surgery, certain problems may result in cerebral hypoxia, such as a physician failing to respond to a mother’s low blood pressure. Read the rest »
According to the Omaha World-Herald, a Douglas County jury awarded $1.8 million to a 3-year-old Omaha girl who lost the use of her arm at birth. The young girl’s left arm is effectively paralyzed after she suffered ruptured and ripped nerves during her delivery in June of 2008. The child’s disabled left arm will permanently be shorter than her right arm and will likely be of little use, and her left hand only shows slight flickers of movement. Joseph and Patrick Cullan of the Nebraska law firm Cullan & Cullan, LLC, who were representing the parents of the girl, state the doctor made some critical mistakes during the girl’s delivery that caused her birth injury and subsequent disability.
Joseph Cullan explains that the obstetrician performing the delivery used a vacuum extractor to help the newborn come through the birth canal, although it was not necessary. In addition, the delivering obstetrician dealt improperly with “shoulder dystocia,” which occurs when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone. Cullan states that there are specific ways for physicians to handle this problem, including manipulating the mother’s legs or exerting pressure on the pelvic area, but the doctor in this case pulled down on the baby’s head, causing severe nerve damage and rendering the child’s left arm useless. Read the rest »
The March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization aimed at improving the health of mothers and babies, has made November Prematurity Awareness Month as part of its Prematurity Campaign. The Prematurity Campaign, which was launched in 2003, aspires to address the prevalent problem of premature births both in the U.S. and abroad.
According to the organization, 1 in 8 babies are born prematurely in the U.S., raising the premature birth rate 36% over the last 25 years. The campaign raises funds for lifesaving research, speaks out for legislation that improves care for babies and moms, and establishes educational programs to help women have healthy, full term pregnancies (such as the Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait program). Read the rest »