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Birth injury: forceps delivery may cause facial paralysis

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2017 | Birth Injury

According to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University, there are a number of factors that can complicate the otherwise normal labor and delivery process of a baby. A large baby or a baby born before achieving 37 weeks of gestation may be at a greater risk of experiencing birth complications, as can a baby who presents in an irregular birthing position or who is subjected to a lengthy labor. Most Pittsburgh obstetricians are able to manage these complications and safely bring newborns into the world.

However, from time to time a doctor may use a device to help the birthing process along. One of those devices is forceps, a device that holds together in its center with a hinge and which may be used to pull a baby out of the birth canal. Forceps, if safely used, can be a life-saving tool for both mothers and babies who struggle through labor. However, they can also pose significant risks to the children whose births include them.

One of the risks that a forceps birth poses to a newborn is facial paralysis. If the forceps damage the muscles of a baby’s face then the child may be unable to move that portion of their face. If the injury is only a bruise. then the child may regain movement in the face with time. However, if the injury damaged the nerves of the face, then the child may require surgery to repair their muscles.

Facial paralysis can be devastating for parents to witness in their newborns and can require an infant to undergo subsequent medical therapies and procedures. The emotional and financial hardship of a birth injury on a family can be significant, but those who have experienced them can investigate their rights with the help of personal injury attorneys.