Birth injuries are the physical traumas that a baby or the mother encounters before or during childbirth. These injuries can be due to preterm birth, oxygen deprivation, an infection, pressure on the baby’s head, or simply because of the negligence of the doctors during labor. It is also known as neonatal birth trauma. Such injuries can be severe and lifelong, or they may be temporary and heal with or without treatment.
Birth injuries can drastically affect everyone connected to the child and the mother. Living with a birth injury can be emotionally distressing, requiring resilience and optimism to change one’s life to adapt to unexpected situations.
Depending on its severity, a birth injury affects all areas of a patient’s life, including physical development, mental development, social interaction, and learning capabilities.
Types Of Birth Injuries and Possible Causes
Birth injuries can either be temporary or permanent. Temporary birth injuries include bruises or swelling of the face and lumps under the skin or blood inside the eye, which heal with time and proper treatment.
Permanent injuries to the head, brain, spine or another organ of the baby can cause conditions like cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, seizures, or paralysis that does not go away with time.
The most widespread reasons such injuries may occur are prolonged labor, maternal health conditions such as obesity and preeclampsia, premature birth, size and position of the baby, and medical mismanagement at the time of labor, known as birth malpractice.
The odds of bringing up a child with physical or cognitive limitations are terrifying, which leaves the parents feeling grim and hopeless. While it is still heart-wrenching for the parents of a newborn baby to know that their little one has to suffer, it is the worst when they come to know that a little bit of extra care by the medical team could have prevented the injury.
The baby’s guardians are eligible to claim financial compensation for the baby’s treatment if the birth injury is due to the negligence of the doctors at the time of birth.
Fulfilling Basic Needs
Injuries to the spinal cord can cause paralysis of varying degrees, which limits the patient’s ability to move independently. Individuals with such conditions may need wheelchairs and walkers to assist them in moving.
Lack of oxygen to the brain at birth can result in conditions like cerebral palsy. Patients with such conditions need constant supervision when performing day-to-day tasks, and children who develop breathing difficulties and seizures must be given timely medication.
Some birth injuries affect the intellectual development of children. Individuals with such growth and cognitive impairment are a threat to themselves.
Social interaction becomes one of the most significant challenges when you have a child suffering from a birth injury. Not attending family gatherings, and finding oneself spending less time in social situations than before, leaves one feeling isolated and abandoned.
Birth injuries also make individuals suffering from them feel different from the rest of the crowd. This difference results in a lack of confidence and comfort while interacting and socializing with others.
Increasing social activities helps lessen social anxiety in people with special needs and their families. Planning gatherings or going out often will allow your child to make friends and be a part of the community. It will also help you learn to adjust to the distressing situation and return to society.
Regular doctor visits are needed more than ever when a child has a birth injury. These visits can be very time-consuming and overwhelming. Apart from doctor’s appointments, special education for children with special needs also takes up much time. Parents, in that case, have to schedule their plans and structure their jobs according to their children’s therapy sessions and doctor appointments.
While a child is a parent’s prime focus of attention, it is also vital for the parents to take time out for themselves. Parents must schedule time away from their primary caregiver role to restore and replenish their energies. Otherwise, if parents become exhausted, negativity fuels anger and despair. Mental health plays a significant role in getting someone through tough times. So, keeping yourself healthy and positive with energizing activities is crucial.
Altering Careers to Meet Financial Needs
The diagnosis of a child with brain injury can be very frightening for the parents. It makes them question their ability to compensate for the loss that the child has to live with. Apart from other challenges, families of children with birth injuries face many financial difficulties. The constant need to keep up with the medication and therapy, special needs education, and supporting devices for the child to complete his daily tasks require large sums of money.
Parents, in that case, opt for career opportunities that will enable them to keep up with the costly treatments and fulfill the requirements. They often work extra hours and do multiple jobs to meet their child’s special needs.
One must understand that birth injuries will change lives, not only the child’s life but the people around him too. Every aspect of life is influenced by the child’s injury, from social interaction to financial stability. It takes a lot of effort, courage, strength, and patience to get one’s life back on track after being hit by adversity. However, Parents must understand and realize that they are not alone in this. There are always people around willing to offer them the support they deserve.