When you have a child who has a birth injury, it can be rather scary to attempt to care for such an infant because the last thing you want is to worsen the birth trauma. However, there are strategies that you can rely on when you need to care for that infant. The good news is that you can still learn how to care for an infant even if he or she has suffered birth injuries.
Here are some tips for you to ensure that the infant will be able to receive the necessary care at this important time of his or her life.
Understand The Causes Of Birth Trauma
There are two main causes of birth trauma in infants. One is that the doctor or midwife who delivered the baby found it hard to ensure a normal delivery because of the size of the baby’s head or the position of the child during birth. They may have resorted to using their own hands inserted into the birth canal to manipulate the position of the baby. Another main cause of birth trauma is the use of birthing tools, such as forceps or vacuum, to pull the baby out of the birth canal.
If the pediatrician in charge of the infant examines the child, they may discover some birth injuries because of those two causes. The pediatrician may recommend some ways to care for the infant that has birth injuries, so that the injuries don’t get worse and the life of the infant will be protected.
Sometimes, the birth trauma injuries heal well and the child is able to develop normally despite what happened. However, birth trauma can cause developmental problems for the infant later on. If this happens to your child, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against the doctor or midwife who delivered the baby because their lack of competence injured the child. You may read more if you need further information about how you can do that.
Signs That The Infant Has A Birth Injury
These are some symptoms that will alert you to the possibility that the baby has experienced a birth injury:
- Crying in a high-pitched voice, possibly coupled with grunting
- Crying while the back is arched
- Having difficulty breathing
- Unable to feed on the mother, has difficulties with sucking, eating, and swallowing
- Sensitivity to light
- Nausea and possibly vomiting
- Being difficult to handle due to fussiness
- Excessive drooling
If these issues continue and you cannot seem to soothe the infant, you should alert the pediatrician so that tests can be conducted to check for birth injuries.
Caring For The Child After The Occurrence Of Birth Trauma
Usually, the birth injury may be inflicted at the child’s head, neck, and shoulders. In some cases, the limbs can also be vulnerable during the birthing process. So, if you’re the caregiver who’ll be providing care to the infant, you should be aware of which body parts were injured and need careful attention. Take note that you have to be gentle with the infant to avoid worsening the injuries.
The pediatrician may recommend some medication at the start of the therapy, especially painkillers, depending on the degree of trauma. Another injury that’s common in birth trauma cases is skull fractures. Both injured limbs and skull fractures may require the immediate attention of a bone surgeon who specializes in birth trauma surgery. The pediatrician may also notice some hemorrhaging under the scalp during the examination of the infant.
Unfortunately, there are cases when the birth injury may have been very serious, and could result in developmental problems for the child. Examples of serious injuries that can result in developmental problems are the following:
- Lack of oxygen during birth – This may lead to mental retardation and other forms of developmental problems as the child grows.
- Nerve injury especially to the arms and hands – The child may have lost function in one or two hands or arms or both.
- Facial nerve injury – The child’s ability to express emotions on the face will be affected.
- Subgaleal hemorrhage – This refers to bleeding beneath the scalp, which may lead to voluminous blood loss and even shock. The infant may have to be confined to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the hospital while they’re still vulnerable to bleeding.
In an ideal world, all infants would be born without difficulty and will grow up as healthy and happy children. However, some infants do suffer trauma during the birthing process.
If you’re the caregiver or parent of such an infant, you should do your best to watch out for signs that the infant is ill or has suffered some kind of birth trauma. If there seem to be some signs of this, you should notify the pediatrician right away so that this doctor can immediately conduct some tests. Only then can you be sure that the infant will survive and you can set about learning how to care for the child.