Birth injuries can happen for many reasons, but they are often linked to a known set of factors — or a combination of these factors. One thing that doctors need to do is to identify these risk factors up front and take the proper steps to keep the baby safe and healthy. It is not always possible, but that does not allow for negligence on the part of the medical staff.
Again, there could be more factors than those listed below, but seven of the more common ones include:
- Babies who are born at a weight of more than 8 pounds and 13 ounces.
- Babies who are premature, and therefore, have smaller, more fragile bodies. Generally, there is cause for concern if the baby comes before 37 weeks.
- A prolonged labor.
- A difficult labor, known as dystocia.
- A mother who has cephalopelvic disproportion. This means that the shape or the size of her pelvis — or both — does not allow for a smooth natural birth.
- A mother who has a high enough BMI that she is technically obese. This level is not always as high as people assume that it is.
- A baby who has an abnormal birthing presentation. Perhaps the most common example is a breech delivery, when the baby is head up instead of head down.
Of course, doctors cannot control all of these factors, such as an obese mother or a premature birth. What they need to do, though, is to account for them in order to lower the odds of a serious birth injury. If they fail to do so, mothers need to know what legal options they have.