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The 4 most common orthopedic injuries during childbirth

Birth injuries take place every day in the United States. While some are the result of unavoidable circumstances or underlying health conditions, others happen due to medical negligence.

Medical professionals are expected to provide the best care possible. It’s important to recognize the most common birth injuries, since they are sometimes the result of negligence. Here are the top four orthopedic injuries sustained by infants during childbirth:

1. Clavicle fractures

A clavicle fracture is the most prevalent birth injury. It often occurs when a doctor uses excess force to deliver an awkwardly positioned baby. Its most noticeable symptom is pain near the collarbone. A doctor may strap the injured arm to your baby’s chest for a few weeks to heal the broken bone.

2. Erb’s Palsy

When a doctor stretches your baby’s head and shoulders during birth, it can damage the main nerves in your infant’s arm and cause Erb’s Palsy. This damage often results in weakness in one arm, so it’s easily detectable when your child moves one arm but not the other. Erb’s Palsy typically heals over time, but if symptoms are still present after three to six months, your baby may need surgery.

3. Growth plate fractures

Growth plates are composed of very soft tissue, and therefore prone to injury during delivery. Swelling at the end of your baby’s leg or arm is one sign of a growth plate fracture. Treatment usually includes protecting the area and allowing the injury several weeks to heal.

4. Femur fractures

A baby’s legs being twisted during delivery could result in a femur fracture. This is a less common injury that’s usually noticed when you move or change the child. Your baby would most likely wear a Pavlik harness for about a month to recover.

No parent or infant deserves to endure the consequences of a birth injury. If you’re facing physical, emotional or financial setbacks, know that you’re not alone. A medical malpractice attorney can analyze your situation and determine whether you have a valid claim.

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