5 scary birthing injuries newborns face

A swollen head and nerve injuries to the neck are just some of the injuries baby may sustain during delivery.

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Every mother hopes to deliver a healthy child safely into this world. However, birth injuries can still occur because of several factors.

SmartParents expert and Gleneagles Hospital ob-gyn Dr Christopher Chong explains that different level of risks come with different delivery methods. He points out that C-sections are considered to be safer for the baby and vaginal deliveries safer for mothers.

The injury risk to babies will be higher in deliveries involving instruments like forceps and vacuum.

“The injury risk to babies will be higher in deliveries involving instruments like forceps and vacuum.”

Obstetrician-gynaecologist Dr Peter Chew and Dr Chong list other factors that may increase the trauma risk to babies:

* Position of the baby Babies are often delivered head first. However, your foetus may also be in a transverse positive — the head and legs on either side of the womb — or the breech position — coming out feet first. These positions may pose a higher injury risk.

* Size of your baby Genetics, gestational diabetes and an overdue baby are all possible causes of a larger-sized baby. Depending on the size of your pelvic cavity, opting for a natural birth if you’re expecting a large baby may result in injuries for both you and your child.

* Angle of your baby’s head If your baby is looking sideways, upwards or his chin is lowered toward his chest, it can all lead to a greater birth trauma risk. Dr Chong explains that how the baby’s head is angled impacts his ease of going through the birth canal.

Based on his experiences, serious injuries such as brain or nerve ones and bone fractures are uncommon, Dr Chew says. “Minor injuries like abrasions, cuts on the face, cephalohaematoma tend to be more common.”

If you suspect your child may be suffering from any birth injuries, you should approach a neonatologist for further medical assistance. The experts provide details on common birthing injuries your infant may encounter…

1. Cephalohaematoma

WHAT? An accumulation of blood in the space between an infant’s scalp and his skull, which causes the top of your baby’s head to swell. This condition also puts your child at a higher risk of developing jaundice.
CAUSES Usually from vacuum or forceps deliveries. Larger foetuses, which tend to spend more time in the birth canal, are subjected to greater amounts of compression and stress as it travels between the pelvic bones.
RECOVERY The accumulation of blood under your baby’s skin should resolve naturally, usually by three months.