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Should you be worried about birth injuries?

Anticipating the birth of your child probably includes some measure of anxiety about the process. Whether you plan to check in to a Washington hospital or birthing center, or have the baby at home, you may worry about all those things that are outside your control. 

No matter how natural the process seems, there are always going to be risk factors. As Medscape points out, the compression and contractions that any baby experiences as it passes through the birth canal can cause injuries. While medical devices must sometimes be used to help the process along, they may also add to the risk. In fact, midcavity forceps use is listed as a factor that predisposes you and your baby to injury. Vacuum extraction also may raise the chances of birth trauma. 

Other factors that increase the risk of birth injuries include the following:

  • The position of your baby
  • Deficiency of amniotic fluid
  • The size of your infant’s head
  • Labor that goes on too long or is too short
  • A high or low birth weight

The good news? Long before these risk factors cause a birth injury, your doctor should be able to recognize them through tests and examinations throughout your pregnancy, and close monitoring during labor. Modern technology has reduced the percentage of infant fatalities significantly, and now this figure is below 2 percent. Identifying issues in the early stages has reduced the need for devices such as the vacuum and forceps, and cesarean delivery has become more acceptable as an alternative to these labor-assistive instruments. 

This information about birth injury risks is general and educational in nature. It should not be interpreted as medical or legal advice.