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3 dangers new parents may face while in the hospital

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Personal Injury

When the time comes for parents to welcome a newborn into the world, it’s normal for them to experience anticipation, joy and fear all at once. Many parents are likely aware that while bringing a new life into the world is often a joyous occasion, they may face certain dangers while in the hospital.

No matter how prepared parents are, the birth of their child can take unexpected turns due to a healthcare provider’s negligence. For this reason, it can help new parents to be aware of potential dangers that a hospital birth may expose them to.

Delayed C-sections

When healthcare providers are unable to deliver a child naturally, they are supposed to quickly prepare the mother for a cesarean section (C-section). Significant delays in C-section intervention can risk the life of the mother and the unborn child. The longer the mother has to endure labor, the more likely the baby’s oxygen supply may be compromised. This can trigger asphyxiation, a condition that can lead to long-term neurological damage.

Delayed C-section can also result in shoulder dystocia, where the newborn’s shoulder gets lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. Such trauma can result in Erb’s palsy. This is a condition where nerve damage limits movement or paralyzes the newborn’s arm.

Excessive use of force in delivery

When healthcare providers encounter a difficult delivery, they turn to obstetric instruments to help streamline the process. Unfortunately, studies have shown that these instruments can significantly increase the risk of birth injuries. For example, birth injuries are three times as likely to happen when vacuum extraction is used during delivery. Forceps increase this risk fourfold compared to unassisted vaginal deliveries.

Furthermore, cephalohematoma is four times more likely with forceps and nine times more likely with vacuum-assisted delivery. Cephalohematoma is when blood accumulates between the newborn’s skull and scalp. Overall, both these obstetric instruments make birth injuries 11-12 times more likely. Furthermore, these tools make newborns susceptible to bone fractures, particularly in the clavicle or collarbone.

Failure to diagnose prenatal illnesses

Some newborns are predisposed to prenatal illnesses such as:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Oligohydramnios (lack of amniotic fluid)

Unfortunately, when these conditions go undetected, newborns are left to suffer devastating birth complications. Preeclampsia, for instance, deprives the baby of nutrients and oxygen when they’re still in the womb. Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of shoulder dystocia because it can cause the newborn to grow too large. Lastly, Oligohydramnios can cause cord compression and deprive the baby of oxygen during delivery.

While childbirth is one of the most human natural experiences, it carries inherent risks that require vigilant medical oversight. Unfortunately, parents aren’t guaranteed that their healthcare providers will follow best practices. Therefore, they can benefit from understanding the risks they may face while in the hospital so that they can better advocate for their baby’s health.