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.