Common Examples of Birth Trauma

Concerned new parents looking down at their baby

The birthing process goes smoothly for a majority of infants in the U.S. However, sometimes there are problems that result in birth trauma or injuries.

While some birth injuries are relatively minor and tend to heal quickly, others can result in long-term or life-long health problems.

Unfortunately, many of these injuries were caused by medical negligence and could have been avoided if healthcare professionals had identified and responded properly to signs of fetal distress.

If your baby suffered any of the types of birth trauma described below, you may have grounds for a birth injury claim. Contact one of the professional birth injury attorneys at our firm for a free consultation to find out if you have legal options.

Intracranial Hemorrhage

A baby’s head is extremely fragile during birth. If doctors are not careful, they can cause bleeding in the skull, also known as an intracranial hemorrhage. There are various types of intracranial hemorrhages, including:

Cerebral Hemorrhage

This is bleeding that occurs inside the brain, similar to the type of bleed that can occur during a stroke.

Intraventricular Hemorrhage

This is the most severe type of intracranial hemorrhage for a baby. It occurs when there is a bleed that starts in the brain’s ventricular system, which is where spinal fluid is produced. It is particularly common in infants with a low birth weight and those born prematurely.


When there is bleeding between the skull and the skin, it can cause your child to develop a bump on his or her head a few hours after birth. The bump should go away after a few weeks or months.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

This is an injury where the small blood vessels in the infant's eyes break. A common symptom of the injury is a bright red band around the iris in each eye. This does not cause permanent damage and the red bands usually disappear in a few days.

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

This is also known as birth asphyxia. It occurs when there is a lack of oxygen or blood flow during delivery. It can result in mild or severe mental and physical impairments that affect the child for the rest of his or her life. The duration of the lack of oxygen or blood flow will determine the severity of the injury.

Bell’s Palsy

When the child’s facial nerve is damaged during labor or birth, it may result in the development of Bell’s palsy. This injury is most noticeable when the baby cries. The face muscles on one side of the face will be unable to move.

Bell's palsy is caused by putting too much pressure on the face while the infant passes through the birth canal. Doctors need to be careful when using forceps to aid in the delivery of the baby, as they can apply too much pressure to the head and damage nerves.

Bell’s palsy can improve without treatment if the nerve is only bruised. However, if the nerve is torn, surgery may be necessary.

Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy occurs when the brachial plexus is damaged. This network of nerves controls the arms and hands. Damage to the brachial plexus can result in the infant being unable to rotate or flex his or her arms.

Usually, the injury will resolve itself over time, but if the nerve is torn, the injury could be permanent.

Fractures and Bruising

Fractures are the most common type of birth injury. This injury is more likely to occur during a feet-first birth. Large infants also have a higher risk of fractures during the birthing process.

In some situations, a soft bandage or splint is necessary until the baby heals from the break.

Bruising can also occur due to the stresses of passing through the birth canal. In some cases, the injury is caused by improper use of forceps to aid in the delivery.

Bruises generally occur on the face, head and extremities.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Improper pulling, rotating or overstretching the baby can result in spinal cord injuries. These can cause life-long health issues. They are often associated with hemorrhaging, overall weakness and respiratory failure.

Contact Janet, Janet & Suggs to Discuss Your Legal Options

Birth injuries can be devastating for a family, causing permanent health problems that require ongoing treatment.

If your child suffered a birth injury caused by medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for your child's medical care, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Our experienced attorneys can carefully review your claim to determine if you have legal recourse. We are prepared to guide you through every step of the process as we pursue the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today for more information.

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