A birth injury is any type of damage to an infant’s body before, during or just after delivery. Birth injuries typically occur during operative deliveries (deliveries achieved by the use of obstetrical forceps or cesarean section), whether vaginal or abdominal, rather than spontaneous deliveries. In the United States, birth injuries have been reported to occur in 27 out of every 1,000 live births.

Common Birth Injuries

The following are some of the most common birth injuries:

  • caput succedaneum
  • cephalohematoma
  • bruising/forceps marks
  • subconjunctival hemorrhage
  • facial paralysis
  • brachial palsy
  • fractures

Causes of Birth Injuries

One major cause of birth injuries is oxygen deprivation, which often occurs when the umbilical cord is compressed or twisted during birth. Another major cause of birth injuries is mechanical trauma, which is caused by physical force, as when a child is injured from use of forceps or pulling on a limb during delivery. Mechanical injuries may also occur when a baby assumes an unusual position at birth (for example, buttocks rather than head first) or when the baby is too large to easily pass through the birth canal.

Numerous birth injuries are caused by mistakes made by doctors or hospitals during delivery. For example, birth injuries can occur if doctors apply excessive force during delivery or there is a delay in performing a necessary C-section delivery. Birth injuries can also occur if medical professionals fail to properly anticipate a child’s size, causing a turbulent delivery.

The most serious birth injuries are those that affect the brain. Brain injuries are caused by oxygen deprivation or bleeding within the skull or brain. Brain injuries vary greatly in severity and may cause long-term seizure disorders, cerebral palsy or mental retardation.

Finally, various prescription drugs can cause birth injuries. The following prescription medications are known to cause birth injuries and defects:

Medical Malpractice Birth Injury Lawyers

If you or a loved had birth complications and your child suffers from birth injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your baby’s injuries. Please contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Published November 17, 2011 by