While most births have little to no complications, injury to a baby can occur as a result of direct trauma. This is usually due to a mismatch between the size of the baby and the mother’s pelvis (CPD) or as a result of negligent use of instruments, such as a vacuum (ventouse) or forceps.
If a baby is too large to be delivered naturally, medical professionals may augment the labor process with oxytocin or Pitocin to create stronger contractions. However, if used excessively or inappropriately, the pressure from contractions can cause direct trauma to the infant’s head, the devastating effects of which include internal brain hemorrhages as well as skull fractures. The same is true when a medical professional uses a vacuum or forceps inappropriately or excessively. The damage from these instruments can be equally as extreme, as these instruments should be used with caution and only to guide a baby to delivery, not to force a baby through the birth canal.