Your Ultimate Guide to Birth Trauma and Injuries

The last thing expecting parents want to hear about is the risk of birth injuries. While they're rare, there is a chance your child will be injured during the birthing process as the result of a hospital or doctor's negligence known as medical malpractice. 

Oftentimes, birth injuries occur when a medical provider is careless during the birthing process and doesn't check the health of your child or the health of the mom.

Are you going into labor soon? You'll want to know all about birth trauma and injuries and your legal rights as a parent.

The Most Common Types of Birth Trauma

An infant can sustain damage to any part of the body. But most birth injuries occur on the head, neck, and shoulders because those are the first areas the medical provider will touch. Unfortunately, injuries to those areas can be dire.

Here are the most common types of birth injuries:

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects an infant's movement, muscle tone, and posture. The damage usually happens before birth but a difficult birth can also be the cause of this disorder.

Babies mainly get cerebral palsy during birth when there's trauma to the head, they lack oxygen, and if the birth is overall difficult.


Cephalohematoda is an accumulation of blood below the periosteum. This is a membrane that covers the baby's skull.

You can see cephalohematoda because of bumps that form on the infant's head a few hours after delivery. These bumps may even grow longer postpartum.

Fortunately, this condition isn't serious. Your baby can heal naturally from cephalohematoda when the body reabsorbs blood, but this may take weeks or even months.

But cephalohematoda can turn into jaundice, which is an excessive amount of bilirubin in the blood cells. Too much bilirubin can cause brain damage.

Caput Succedaneum

Caput succedaneum is scalp swelling and it usually occurs shortly after birth. It's rare this occurs because of the medical practitioners; caput succedaneum usually occurs because of pressure from the uterus or vaginal walls during delivery.

Caput succedaneum is most common during long and difficult labors. Oftentimes, the amniotic sac breaks away and the baby is born without protection on the head.

When is caput succedaneum caused by a medical practitioner? If they use devices such as vacuum extractors, this could irritate the baby's head. Caput Succedaneum is usually harmless but severe causes can lead to jaundice.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage is the breakage of blood vessels in an infant's eyes. You'll be able to see a bright red band around the iris.

Fortunately, this doesn't cause permanent damage to the eyes or the baby's vision. It's actually pretty common because blood vessels break during the pressure of delivery. The eyes will heal themselves.

Bruising and Broken Bones

Because of the intensity of delivery, it's uncommon for a baby to have bruising and even broken bones. But it's important to take note if this happens to your baby.

Another common cause of bruising and broken bones is too much force from the doctor or birthing equipment. They will tug the baby out too strongly, resulting in injury.

Fortunately, these can heal on its own but healing may take several months. You'll also have to be extra careful when handling your baby.

Brachial Plexus Injury

The brachial plexus is a series of nerves that start from the spinal cord in the neck and travel to the arms and hands.

An injury to the brachial plexus only happens when there's an issue delivering a child whose arms and hands are stuck in the womb. The doctor may tug on the arm, causing injury.

You'll notice a brachial plexus injury, such as brachial palsy, if the baby can't rotate or flex their arm.

The severity of the injury depends on the nerve damage. Minor brachial plexus injuries heal on their own or with assistance from a physical therapist. Severe injuries can result in permanent damage.

Bell's Palsy

Bell's Palsy is infant facial nerve damage during birth. This usually occurs when there's too much pressure during the birth. But Bell's Palsy can also be caused by doctors using forceps to remove the baby.

You can tell if a child has Bell's Palsy by looking at their face. If their facial features are stiff while they cry, it's a sign of nerve damage. Bell's Palsy usually heals on its own. If the nerves are torn, surgery can correct the torn nerves.

Birth Injury and Trauma Causes

Some of the common birth injury and trauma causes were mentioned previously. But it's important to pinpoint major causes. Some of these cases can't be prevented but others can.

Here are some causes that can't be prevented:

  • Premature births
  • Larger babies (weighing over eight ounces)
  • Difficult labor
  • Mother's pelvis is a bad size for delivery
  • Abnormal fetal position
  • Prolonged labor

Here are some causes that can be prevented:

  • Not detecting signs of fetal distress
  • Not providing adequate care for the mother and baby
  • Delivering via vaginal birth when there's a better alternative
  • Delivering prematurely (unless there's no other option)

In addition, doctors may use tools that irritate the baby or will use too much force when removing the baby during birth.

When to Take Legal Action

Parents can file a New York birth injury lawsuit if their child suffered trauma and injury due to inadequate care or irresponsibility from their medical care providers.

You need to prove your child was healthy before the birth, differentiating an injury from a defect.

You also need to prove the birth injury was caused by the medical care provider and not for a natural reason.

If your labor went well, with little distress and there wasn't too much pressure in the uterus or vagina, then you can suspect the injury was the cause of irresponsibility or negligence from the practitioner.

  • A birth injury lawsuit is helpful because you'll receive compensation for:
  • Healthcare costs associated with surgeries, therapy, and equipment
  • Any lost wages to care for a disabled child (time off work, etc.)
  • Pain, emotional distress and suffering
  • Loss of companionship for your child

Finding the best lawyer is integral to winning your lawsuit. Contact a lawyer now and focus on spending more time with your child.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

Did your child suffer injuries from a birth trauma? An experienced birth trauma lawyer will help you win your case.
We are here to assist you with finding the right birth injury lawyer in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Connecticut for your case.  Contact us now for a free consultation.

Understanding Spinal Cord Injury: Spinal Cord Injury Facts You Should Know

Spinal cord injuries are one of the horror story scenarios of the medical world. Most of us grow up with some fear of getting a spinal injury - we know it can mean the rest of your life spent in a wheelchair. But not many of us know very many important spinal cord facts. 

If you've had a spinal cord injury or want to know more about them, it can be hard to know where to start. Read on to learn some important spinal cord facts and what happens when you injure your spinal cord.

What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?

Your spinal cord is made up of nerves that send out information to the body and receives information back from the body. It lets you know where your body parts are (such as that your arm is up or your leg is held out) and helps move information from your brain to the different parts of your body.

spinal cord injury happens when any damage comes to the spinal cord. This can be bruising, tearing, cutting, or any other damage. It depends on what kind of injury you've had and how severe it is. Some of the common causes of spinal cord injury includes: motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-falls, medical malpractice.


There can be several symptoms associated with spinal cord injuries, again depending on what kind of injury it is. You can have loss of function in your limbs, including loss of large and small muscles and loss of bladder and bowel control and loss of diaphragm function. You can also have paresthesia, which is abnormal or painful tingling sensations.

You may also find yourself with a lack of blood pressure control after a spinal cord injury. But if you find yourself with any loss of function, you should see a doctor. Even if the spine gets bruised, not severed, you should still see your doctor; the symptoms may resolve over time, but you need to be very careful.


The severity of spinal cord injuries is a huge range; from simple bruising to full severing, injuries can run the gamut. One of the biggest questions in spinal cord injuries is how high up the spine the injury is. The higher the injury is, the more loss of function you're going to have and the worse your prognosis is going to be.

Another major factor is how badly the spinal cord is damaged. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves, so if a few are bruised, you may only experience loss of function for a few weeks. But if your spinal cord is entirely severed, you are likely to be paralyzed for life.

First Aid

The most important thing you can do in case of a spinal cord injury is to not move the injured person. The wrong movement can cause more damage to the spinal cord and mean the difference between a short recovery time and paralysis. Unless the injured person is in imminent danger, leave them where they are until help shows up.

If you must move the injured person, you'll want to be as careful as you possibly can be during this process. The first thing you need to do is immobilize the head and the spine however you can - some sort of improvised splint is best. Move them as little as possible to get them into a more sustainable situation and then call for help.


As we mentioned, your prognosis depends a lot on how badly your spinal cord is damaged and how high up the injury is. Some of it depends on how the spinal cord was cut - whether it was torn, partially cut, fully cut, etc. Your prognosis will also depend on what sort of health you were in before the accident.

But even if you have had some severing of the spinal cord, you may not be paralyzed forever. In some cases, those nerves in the spinal cord can reconnect and heal so you can walk again. If your doctors think this may be the case in your injury, they'll have you doing as much as you can to move and promote function.

Treatment Options 

The treatment you get in the immediate time after the injury depends on what kind of injury you have and how serious it is. If it's a less serious injury - bruising, for example - you'll likely just have physical therapy and observation. In a more severe injury, the doctors will be focused most on stabilizing your spinal cord and making sure you get proper nutrition and other care.

If you have a spinal cord injury, you're going to have physical and occupational therapy during your recovery process. Physical therapy works on maintaining your physical function as much as possible. Occupational therapy works on activities of daily living, or helping you learn adaptive ways to live your life with an injury, including getting dressed, brushing your teeth, and more.


After you get out of the hospital, you're going to spend a lot of time going through rehab. If your injury is severe (such as if you're paralyzed), you'll spend a lot of time in the occupational therapy that we mentioned. They'll teach you how to eat, dress, bathe, and live as independently as possible.

If you are paralyzed, you'll learn how to use a wheelchair and how to use adaptive tools like reachers and such. You may also have speech therapy if you have problems with swallowing and speech. They'll help you learn to use and develop the muscles in your mouth and neck to help get you back to as much normal function as possible.

More Important Spinal Cord Facts

Spinal cord injuries can be scary, but a lot depends on what kind of injury it is and where it is on the spine. Even if you've had an injury, you may be able to return to full function with enough time. Knowing some of these important spinal cord facts can help you be prepared for an injury should one happen.

If you have had a spinal cord injury, reach out to us at Find Injury Law. We can help you get the justice you deserve in a timely fashion. We can assist you with finding the right spinal cord injury lawyer in New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania for your case. Check out our list of practice areas today.