Birth injuries are depressingly common. Estimates suggest that of every 1,000 infants born in the U.S., between six and eight will suffer from a birth injury of some kind. This means approximately 28,000 newborns suffer from birth injuries every year. 

The health of both the mother and the infant rely on the care and the knowledge of the primary health care professional. No matter how much experience and training a doctor has, birth defects can remain undiagnosed for a variety of reasons. 

Failure to detect a maternal infection

There are numerous illnesses and infections the mother can develop that may result in birth injuries. Although most people view chicken pox as a relatively mild disease, it can have severe consequences in a fetus if the mother develops it later in life. Other types of maternal infections that can lead to birth injuries include the following:

  • Rubella
  • Syphilis
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Hepatitis B
  • Toxoplasmosis

Failure to detect fetal distress

Fetal distress refers to various indications that a fetus is not well. There are numerous signs and symptoms fetal distress has taken place, such as decreased movements the mother feels, meconium detected within the amniotic fluid, and decreased or increased fetal heart rate. There are many causes of fetal distress, including breathing issues, placental abruption and umbilical cord prolapse.

Other reasons doctors fail to diagnose birth defects

Doctors may also fail to order the right tests to conduct the tests and screenings necessary to find any birth defects. The mother may suffer from gestational diabetes, and the failure of the doctor to diagnose that within the mother can lead to a higher likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. In many cases, the fetus may end up in an abnormal position or is too large for a standard delivery. The doctor should be able to detect this early on and make accommodations to prevent any complications during the actual birth.