Childbirth is a very stressful event for the baby, and it is not uncommon for minor injuries to occur in the process. While some of these injuries may pass quickly and leave no lasting impact, others continue to affect the life of the child for years, possibly forever.
One recent study has found an unexpected connection between one type of birth injury and mental health risks.
Brachial plexus birth injuries are a fairly common form of damage a child can suffer during birth. This particular injury damages the nerves leading to the arms and legs and can hinder the child’s ability to flex and rotate his or her arms. Usually, this complication passes within a few months and the child develops normally. However, a new study performed in Sweden has shown a possible link between the injury and certain mental health issues.
Specifically, the study found that teenagers who had experienced a brachial plexus birth injury showed a higher incidence of use of anti-depressants and other mental health medications than those who had not. This higher risk was also shown to be increased when combined with certain other factors, mainly socioeconomic status and gender.
Teenage girls with a brachial plexus birth injury in their past were at higher risk than boys with the same background, and low-income teenagers were also at a higher risk than those raised in higher income brackets. Combining factors greatly increases the risk of mental health issues; girls from a low-income environment, for example, were shown to have twice the risk as boys from a high-income background.
The impact of a low-income environment is not news to the medical community, and there have already been many works exploring the ways social forces increase the risks of mental health in girls. The danger highlighted by this study is that even causes one may not expect, like a birth injury that affects the arms or legs, can factor into quality of life much later.
When one considers the impact birth injuries may have on a child’s life, and remember that many birth injuries are preventable, it becomes vitally important that those responsible be held accountable for their negligence.
If your child has suffered a brachial plexus or other birth injury, contact us today to learn how we can help.