Fetal Head Injuries During Birth

When you are preparing for the birth of your new baby, you are probably excitedly outfitting an infant’s room, purchasing teeny-tiny socks, and colorful baby toys. While most babies are delivered with hardly any problems, some suffer from head injuries due to the negligence of doctors and nursing staff. There are several different types of fetal head injuries that can occur and affect your baby for life.

First, many people associated baldness with older men. However, during the birthing process, your baby’s scalp can be injured so that he or she will have a permanent bald spot, called alopecia. In most cases, alopecia arises when a vacuum is used during a difficult birth. Because of the vacuum’s powerful pull on the baby’s scalp, it can damage the part of the skin that is in charge of growing hair. While this may only be a temporary loss of hair, the damage can also be so severe that your child will have a permanent bald spot.

Next, cephalohematomas do not typically cause long-term injury, but they can contribute to unsightly bumps that may take months to go away completely. With a cephalohematoma, trauma to a baby’s head during delivery causes the blood vessels that supply the scalp to tear, so that they bleed. The blood collects under the scalp, forming a large lump. Although these aren’t inherently dangerous, they can mark the site of a skull fracture, which your doctor should be sure to check and see if the cephalohematoma covers a truly serious underlying issue.

Additionally, doctors and nurses who do not handle a baby with care after it is born can contribute to abusive head trauma, commonly known as shaken baby syndrome. A newborn does not have the neck strength to hold its head steady while it is being handled. Thus, if a doctor or nurse handles the child too roughly or accidentally drops it, the motion can shake the head around. With this, the brain slides around inside the skull, which causes the brain to bruise. This can cause sensory problems such as blindness or deafness, as well as developmental delays, mental retardation, and cerebral palsy.

Doctors and their medical staff have the responsibility of keeping you and your loved ones safe from harm. If your doctor has handled forceps or vacuums with too much force during delivery, resulting in a birth injury to your child, you should consult a birth injury attorney about your rights.