Fetal Brain Injury

Many injuries to newborns are avoidable.  Permanent brain damage caused by fetal distress is often caused by tragic errors and mistakes by the obstetrical team.  Injury to the newborn baby’s brain is many times due to failing to properly manage the labor and delivery, leading to cerebral palsy.

The following is a list of possible medical errors that can lead to fetal brain injury:

Failure to respond to umbilical cord compression

Failure to respond to fetal distress and fetal monitoring sensors

Failure to respond to the need for a cesarean section in a timely manner

Misuse of forceps

Misuse of extractor

The alert obstetrician will observe potential problems and immediately take the proper steps before brain injury can occur. Physician delay or inaction in making decisions can cause irreparable harm to the newborn baby.

Lack of Oxygen

Fetal brain injury and Cerebral palsy are often the result of lack of oxygen to the brain of the fetus during the birthing process.  Lack of oxygen can have a devastating effect on the fetus prior to birth.  Some explanations for this event occurring are umbilical cord prolapse, an unusual position of the baby in the birth canal, dysfunctional labor (one that is too long or the contractions are too strong).  The use of Pitocin can also have a tragic effect on the fetus by causing unnatural contractions which limit the amount of oxygen to the baby causing devastating brain damage.

The condition of the baby right after birth can alert the parents and the obstetrical team to the fact that the infant has indeed suffered a brain injury.  However, fetal brain injury is not always apparent immediately after the birth.  The brain injury may not become apparent for weeks, months or years after when the child fails to meet developmental milestones during this time.

Lack of oxygen at birth can be avoided by good obstetrical and neonatal care.  You may want to investigate what happened to your baby and whether his/her injury could have been prevented.