17 Things That Can Happen During Childbirth

When it’s time to deliver a baby, moms anxiously await that magical moment when she first gets to gaze upon her new little one. Imagine the feeling, then, when mom discovers that her little angel is not in the condition she had hoped for. A mother is instead handed over her new baby, who has been hampered by some unforeseen deformity. This is a real-life possibility and new reality for many new moms in the maternity ward. There are a few reasons why this takes place.

For starters, even though many mothers commit to making their prenatal appointments, and do everything according to their birth plan, there is still human error. If a doctor is too tired, rushes the pregnancy, or makes one slip-up during childbirth, the baby can end up suffering. Thanks to insensitive medical decisions, some babies end up permanently changed.

It is also critically important for a mother to stay healthy while she is pregnant. If a mom has an infection, or suddenly has respiratory problems during birth, both mom and baby can end up with some severe health problems. Some deformities are physical, but even more sinister are the deformities that are not so clearly visible, until too late.

17 A Conehead Is Not Uncommon

Some moms might get the shock of their life once the baby is placed in their arms. Aliens with pointy heads are not solely the domain of late-night television humor, as many babies end up with pointy noggins after being squeezed out of mom. Since baby’s skull is supple, and the plates shift so baby can get out of mom safely, baby can often end up with a cone-like head.

The good news is that this deformity is usually temporary. In some cases, a helmet can help correct baby’s head shape. Usually, after enough time passes, baby’s skull settles down and takes on a more normal appearance. Mom might feel a bit upset at baby’s deformity, and feel compelled to press down on baby’s head to help reshape the skull, but that risks hurting the soft spot. In severe cases, corrective surgery may be necessary.

16 Puffy Eyes

A baby’s eyes are very sensitive, and mom can get quite the shock if the baby comes out looking more like a sick frog. If mom has an infection or has contracted a virus like Zika, not only can baby end up with a deformed head, but bulging eyes and vision problems. If baby ends up with swollen puffy eyes because they got pushed out too quickly, when mom wasn’t dilated enough, eye damage is usually minimal.

Infections and viruses, however, can end up with baby dealing with vision impairment, and possibly need assistance later in life. It is important that mom listens to her body, but also staff when it comes to pushing. Avoiding becoming infected during pregnancy is critical. Unless the baby is birthed via C-section, exposure to the canal on birth can infect baby and cause eye problems.

15 A Clipped Tongue

fixed tongue

Babies being born with a fixed tongue, or tongue tie is a little unsettling but is typically a quick fix by doctors. This is one condition that cannot be diagnosed during an ultrasound or via testing and is usually not a severe deformity. In fact, 3 to 4 out of 1,000 births deliver a baby with a fixed tongue, so it is a fairly common occurrence.

Most babies born with tongue tie just get a clip of the tongue from the doctor shortly after birth. If baby’s tongue is not augmented, it can cause difficulties when it comes to nursing, latching on, and speech impediments later. The most important thing is for baby to be able to eat, make sounds for speech, and breathe okay, without a tied tongue getting in the way of things.

14 It's Not Always Visible

Not all deformities are visible. Thanks to certain bacteria, viruses, and trauma from medical intervention, a baby can develop hearing loss, visual impairment, or have nerve damage. Moms need to be very watchful over their baby during delivery and look for any signs of problems soon following. Many times malpractice, brain trauma, and mismanaged decisions can alter a baby’s health in a split second.

Both jaundice and lowered oxygen levels can cause dysfunction with the auditory pathways, which connect the brain and inner ear. Meningitis, ear infections, and head injuries can also cause deafness in a babe. Not enough oxygen during childbirth can cause the baby to suffer blindness or difficulties learning things later in life. There is also an unforeseen risk that a child can be born without developing eyes at all, which is still being investigated as to reasons why.

13 Clubbed Feet

No, the baby was not playing miniature golf while in the womb. When a baby is born with their foot twisted inward and looks more like a golf club, the baby has a case of clubfoot. If baby does not receive corrective surgery and physical therapy and rehabilitation, as baby continues to grow, having a club foot or club feet can cause many life challenges.

If mom cannot put down the cigarettes when she is pregnant, or due to genetic predisposition, baby can be born with their feet in this peculiar and awkward condition. A clubfoot makes learning to walk or wearing baby footwear beyond difficult. 1 out of 1,000 births delivers a baby who has a club foot. This deformity is pretty commonplace, but surgery, casts, and patience can help baby walk more normally.

12 Lumps And Bumps Will Heal Over Time

After finally making it out of mom, some babies look like they have been bumped on the head. Thankfully, these lumps and bumps typically work themselves out and do not last the entire duration of a child’s life until adulthood. However, it is curious as to why this happens.

The baby’s body is strong enough to handle the rigors of being born but is still quite fragile and malleable. Thanks to the thin layers of scalp protecting baby’s flexible skull and brain, trapped blood can cause the baby to have a less than perfectly smooth and round head. Baby may only have a head that mother can love, but massages, a helmet, or a soothing baby beanie can help give baby and mom a miracle. If baby’s head shape does not correct itself within a short time after birth, mom should consult the pediatrician.

11 Ever Heard Of Spina Bifida?

Spina bifida is one of those physical deformities that catch a mom off guard and unaware. After all, some tests during pregnancy do not always perfectly determine any future deformities. If mom does not get prenatal care, an ultrasound, or undergoes testing, spina bifida can go undetected. When a baby is born with spina bifida, the spinal cord may be partially exposed, or there is damage to the spinal cord that requires corrective surgery. Thankfully, this deformity is pretty rare.

If baby’s spinal cord does not form properly while in the womb, it can lead to varying complications. Baby might have problems with mobility, or muscle weakness because of damaged nerves. Spina bifida has been connected to low levels of folic acid during pregnancy, and if mom has an extreme fever during pregnancy. There are medical solutions that can help baby enjoy a more normal life.

10 Cleft Lip Or Palate

When a baby is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate, it can be a shocking sight for mom, and rightfully cause deep concern. After all, mom wants her little one to have a normal life and wants to do everything to keep baby healthy and whole. The lip and the palate develop separately when the baby is in the womb, sometimes there are problems with fusing.

A cleft lip leaves a deep opening in the upper lip and philtrum. A cleft palate creates a cavernous opening in the roof of the mouth. Both a cleft lip and cleft palate can be corrected with multiple surgeries, depending on the severity of the deformity. There are no clear answers as to what causes a baby to be born with a cleft lip or cleft palate, but ongoing research continues to uncover clues.

9 Mental Setbacks

If mom decides against getting fetal heart monitoring during delivery, it can put baby’s health at risk. Delivery can be stressful and cause mom some anxiety, but it is so important for mom to stay calm, take birthing classes, and just breathe. Breathing can help mom to relax and reduce pain during labor, but is vital to ensuring that baby gets enough oxygen while being born.

In the event that baby is born with the cord around the neck, doctors must work quickly to make sure baby does not suffer too much brain damage from lack of oxygen. If doctors find that baby’s life is in danger because of a drop in oxygen, a C-section delivery may be the only life-saving option. Oxygen deprivation to a baby’s brain can lead to seizures, learning disabilities, problems with breathing, and other challenges.

8 Scalp Issues

If the baby has a puffy scalp, also known as Caput Succedaneum, the baby may have suffered too much pressure being squeezed out while being delivered. If there's red under the scalp, it is known as cephalohematoma. Both conditions can cause any concerned mother to panic a bit.

If labor is very challenging and prolonged, excessive pushing can cause baby’s scalp to swell. If the doctor chooses to use vacuum suction or forceps to get baby out of mom, baby can end up with a puffy scalp or a lumpy looking head under the scalp as a result too. Eventually, over time, baby’s condition will clear up, but if there is anything out of the ordinary, mom should check with the baby’s doctor immediately. Cradle crap can cause bleeding too, and sometimes a swollen scalp is connected to jaundice.

7 When It Breaks

broken arm

Babies born with problem limbs have been grounds for a lawsuit over medical malpractice, so moms should beware the procedures used during childbirth to help deliver their little one. If a doctor decides to make a rushed decision or movement, such as using forceps to help deliver a baby, vacuum suction, or tries to adjust baby’s position during birth, the baby's limbs can be put at risk.

It is challenging enough for baby to make their journey through the birth canal. It is exhausting, a tight squeeze, and takes a lot of energy. If a doctor is not careful, baby can end up with an injury. Mom should inspect her baby and if there is any malpractice, mom should seek professional assistance right away.

6 Problems With The Hips

Doctors should not be pushy, but more patient and understanding when mom has to push. After all, if mom is pushed too far, the baby could come out with a dislocated hip. Dislocated hips are not solely the domain of old people, as babies are equally, if not more so susceptible to dislocation. The scientific name for this phenomenon is called developmental dysplasia of the hip, or DDH for short. This is when the joint of the hip fails to form properly.

However, swaddling baby too tightly can increase baby’s chances of having a dislocated hip. Also, trauma at birth from the use of forceps, or other medical mishaps, can lead to baby’s hip becoming dislocated. If the baby is outfitted with a brace or harness, DDH can be corrected. If needed, surgery may be the only option to align the hip or correct any sustained problems.

5 Feeling Blue

If baby manages to get squeezed out in a minimal amount of pushes, the baby could end up looking blue all over. The birth canal presents baby with a tight squeeze when making an exit. If mom is in a hurry and pushes too quickly, she could not only end up giving the baby a conehead but also might leave the baby with swollen eyes and bruising.

Eventually, time and tender loving care can help baby quickly heal from the bruises. Topical creams and massage can also help baby’s unsightly looking bruises fade away. In some cases, mom should be aware that heavy bruising that doesn’t go away, might just be a sign of an underlying health issue which should get checked out by a pediatrician.

4 No Baby Is Born Selfie-Ready

It has to be said, but most babies do not have the most selfie-perfect heads and faces after birth. In fact, most babies are born with squishy heads, pointed scalps, bruised faces, and puffy eyes. Some babies may look more like little aliens than tiny cherubs, so moms need to be prepared. Some moments don’t need a selfie right away.

The good news is, most babies will eventually have those ugly features of coneheads, swelling, and bruising fade away within a few days to a few weeks. Then break out the camera! If the baby was born via the V, the baby is coming out of a constricting space, which does put a lot of pressure on baby’s head and body. However, if medical intervention occurs during delivery, medical mishandling and trauma may be at fault for baby’s hopefully temporary less-than-good looks.

3 A Baby's Brain Is Sensitive

Baby’s brain is precious. If baby’s brain suffers lowered oxygen levels or suffers traumatic stress during childbirth, the baby may develop cerebral palsy as a result. Cerebral palsy can happen as a result of poor blood flow to baby’s brain, an infection, an abnormal placenta, or lack of prenatal care. High blood pressure can also be a contributing factor. Moms also need to be careful about pelvic inflammatory disease, as it can contribute to bleeding in a developing baby’s brain, leading to cerebral palsy.

Baby needs immediate attention if there is a problem with the umbilical cord, jaundice, or a failure to find and treat infections. Cerebral palsy makes it so a baby has a hard time controlling their muscles and movement. Children with cerebral palsy may also have problems with speech, seeing, hearing, and have seizures.

2 Ever Heard Of Bell’s Palsy?

If the baby looks like they might have suffered a mini-stroke after being born, mom is not necessarily imagining things. Research is still ongoing as to what exactly triggers Bell’s palsy in a baby, but connections to the herpes virus, Epstein-Barr, ear infections, or trauma to the head or face are suspected catalysts. Trauma can also be caused by oxygen deprivation or implements used in medical intervention during labor and delivery.

Bell’s palsy is when a facial nerve on the face fails to work normally. An eyelid may end up closed, or one side of baby’s mouth may be in a permanent frown, or upturned smile. Baby may also end up suffering muscle paralysis on one side of their face. Baby may recover from Bell’s palsy symptoms within 3 months or less, depending on treatment and severity.

1 Increase The Risk Of Seizures

Making sure baby gets enough oxygen during labor and delivery is critical. In the event that a baby has lowered levels of oxygen, this can cause the baby to have seizures. Trauma to a little one caused by medical implements during a procedure or malpractice by a doctor during labor can also leave a little one suffering from seizures as well.

Mom definitely needs to be on the lookout for strep infections, jaundice, and preeclampsia during pregnancy and during delivery. All of the above conditions can contribute to the baby developing seizures. Very difficult deliveries can cause the baby to incur seizures and increases the risk of trauma to the brain. If a baby is exposed to certain bacteria during delivery, seizures can result too. So, protecting baby’s brain is vital to baby’s health.

Sources: Parents,NIH, Love to Know, Birthing Injury Guide, Kids Health, Web MD, Mayo Clinic, Cerebral Palsy Org, Ortho Info

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