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Ten Common Birth Injuries

An estimated six out of every 1,000 babies are injured during birth. Unlike a birth defect, which occurs because of a genetic mutation or a problem during the pregnancy, a birth injury occurs during the birth itself.

These are some of the most common birth injuries:

  1. Brachial plexus injuries to the nerves that connect the upper spine to the neck, shoulder, arm and hand. These injuries are often seen when there was shoulder dystocia (a shoulder gets stuck in the birth canal after the baby’s head has been delivered).
  2. Bone fractures, most commonly to the clavicle (collarbone). Some fractures need to be immobilized, while others will heal on their own.
  3. Cephalohematoma is a collection of blood below the covering of a portion of the skull bone. The area feels soft and often will get larger in the days after delivery.
  4. Caput succedaneum is a swelling and bruising of an area of the scalp usually caused by excessive pressure during the delivery.
  5. Perinatal asphyxia occurs when a baby does not receive sufficient amounts of oxygen during the delivery. Asphyxia can cause shock, seizures or coma, and often leads to permanent disability.
  6. Intracranial or subarachnoid hemorrhage is bleeding in the skull, either between or under the two layers of the cover of the brain.
  7. Subconjunctival hemorrhage is a burst blood vessel in the eye, causing a bright red area on the baby’s eyeball.
  8. Facial paralysis is a condition where the baby loses control of a specific muscle. This is often easiest to see when the baby is crying.
  9. Spinal cord injuries are often severe, leading to permanent paralysis and neurological problems.
  10. Cerebral palsy causes muscle weakness and spasms, and delay in development of motor skills.

If your baby suffered a birth injury, it is imperative that you consult an experienced attorney immediately. The full consequences of some injuries may not be apparent for years, and if you wait, you will lose any chance to receive compensation for your child.