It is a familiar scene in movies and on TV shows; immediately after a baby is delivered, the doctor holds it by the legs and gives it a firm rap on the butt and crying ensues. However, in reality, crying is actually induced by simply stroking and massaging the baby’s skin. But why make the baby cry at all? Isn’t just being born harrowing enough? Well, as it turns out, doctors have a very good reason to make a baby cry.
You see, when a baby is still in the mother’s womb, it does not use its lungs to draw breath. In fetal circulation, the process of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide is actually done through the heart without employing the lungs at all.
This all changes as soon as the baby exits the womb and must draw its first real breaths. But a baby may have excess fluid in its lungs, which impedes breathing. By making the baby cry, the fluid will be forced up through the mouth and nose from where it can be suctioned out.
Once the baby is breathing on its own, it will then be evaluated according to the standards of what is called the “Apgar test.” The results of this test will help determine the baby’s condition. On a scale that goes to 10, seven to 10 is designated as normal. But if the baby scores in the four to six range, it may be necessary to apply rescue breathing measures. And if the baby scores three or less, it is in danger and lifesaving techniques and rescue breathing measures must be applied at once.
It is incumbent upon the doctors and staff who perform deliveries to conduct all post-birth tests and take careful note of the results. Should a newborn exhibit any sort of respiratory issues, then there should be immediate steps taken to correct the situation. Failure to act quickly and appropriately could cause the baby to suffer serious harm due to a lack of oxygen.
If you believe your baby suffered an injury due to the negligence of a doctor or delivery room staff member, you may want a medical malpractice attorney to investigate what happened. Depending on the findings of the investigation, you may wish to file a civil suit to pursue compensation.