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What Are the Most Common Types of Birth Injury?

What Are the Most Common Types of Birth Injury?

While there are many types of birth injuries, some are more common than others. Sadly, they are often avoidable but continue to occur, leaving families with crushed dreams and painful futures. The only comfort many of them find is through compensation for their pain and losses.  

What Are Birth Injuries? 

Birth injuries are injuries that occur just before, during, or just after birth. They fall within the window of labor and delivery and can forever impact the lives of many people. Unfortunately, they are often avoidable but occur due to medical negligence. Victims and their families do often have recourse, although nothing can erase the past.  

What Are the Most Common Types of Birth Injury? 

There are numerous types of birth injuries, and many of them are rare. However, the more common ones occur far too frequently and typically lead to patient action for compensation for the many losses and pain that follow. 

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) 

HIE occurs when a baby’s brain does not receive the proper blood flow and amount of oxygen it needs. Also lacking when blood flow diminishes is glucose. However, calcium levels rise with a lack of blood flow, and this increase causes brain cells to die.  

The time it takes for a baby’s brain to suffer from lack of blood flow varies. However, damage may occur in as little as five minutes. Other names for HIE include: 

  • Birth asphyxia 
  • Perinatal asphyxia 
  • Neonatal encephalopathy 

HIE is among the leading causes of death among newborns.  


Hematomas in infants typically occur as cephalohematomas, which are located at the top of babies’ heads. They are common, and many can resolve themselves without much treatment or with none at all. Trauma or pressure is the main cause of these injuries. Significant birth forces can cause blood vessels in the scalp to burst during delivery.  

However, medical negligence can also lead to cephalohematomas. Improper use of surgical equipment and tools, such as vacuums and forceps, can deliver enough trauma to cause bleeding in the baby’s cap.   

Cerebral Palsy 

Cerebral palsy is a condition that negatively impacts a person’s motor skills, muscle tone, and/or posture. It occurs because of damage to the brain, which is often caused by a lack of oxygen. For example, a baby who is born with a cord wrapped around their neck may experience a lack of oxygen that results in cerebral palsy. 

How deeply cerebral palsy affects a person depends on various factors, including the length of time the baby went without oxygen and the existence of other harmful factors or conditions.  

Erb’s Palsy 

Babies who suffer from Erb’s palsy have experienced an injury to a bundle of nerves that help control the arm. The result is a form of paralysis, weakness, and lack of control of the arm.  

One of the main causes of this condition that can prevent a child from ever properly using their arm is clinician or doctor error during delivery. The improper application of force while attempting to extract a baby can cause great harm.  

Spinal Cord Damage 

Spinal cord injury occurs most often during difficult deliveries. Sadly, the delicate nature of infant spines makes these injuries typically catastrophic. Some of the devastating results include: 

  • Full or partial paralysis 
  • Decreased movement 
  • Impaired or loss of reflexes 
  • Lack of or loss of sensation response 

Spinal cord damage may also take place when a doctor or another professional fails to handle preexisting conditions that affect the spina bifida. Significantly shortened lifespan is also an unfortunate result of spinal cord injuries that take place during delivery.  

Extraction Tool Injury 

Sometimes, doctors find it necessary to use various labor and delivery tools to help the mother give birth. These tools include: 

  • Forceps 
  • Vacuum 
  • Vaginal speculum 

Without proper use, these and other tools can lead to a traumatic birth injury for the patient. Additionally, choosing to use a tool when less intrusive, reasonable measures are available may be problematic if a birth injury occurs.  

What Parents Can Do About Birth Injuries 

Parents may feel helpless after a birth injury, but they should know that they may have recourse for their child. When medical negligence turns out to be the cause of a birth injury, parents can demand justice through compensation from the negligent healthcare professional who harmed their child.  

Depending on the circumstances, the liable party might be one of the following: 

  • Obstetrician 
  • Nurse
  • Midwife or doula 
  • Anesthesiologist 
  • Other medical professional 

In cases where faulty equipment or tools play a role, the victim’s parents may also have a product liability claim against the defective product’s maker, distributor, and potentially retailer.  

Speak With an Experienced Birth Injury Lawyer Today 

Birth injuries are always tragic, regardless of whether the victim eventually heals. If your child has experienced this harm, contact Silberstein, Awad & Miklos. We’re ready to vigorously pursue financial recourse for your losses. Call for a free consultation today.