Types Of Birth Injuries

Unfortunately, one of the most joyous life events can turn tragic when a birth injury occurs. Complications can occur at any time during pregnancy and can sometimes lead to different types of birth injuries. Early interventions combined with today’s medical advancements are very important and can help resolve many complications. But when medical accidents occur during the actual child birthing process, things can sometimes take a very scary turn. Especially when those accidents could have been avoided. 

The reality is this: many birth injuries are the direct result of a doctor’s negligence. Because of this many children have to live with permanent injuries and disabilities because of mistakes that could have been avoided. In addition, parents have their own difficulties to face.

Recognizing the most common types of birth injuries can help you determine if you should take legal steps. In this article, we’ve listed many different types of birth injuries. If something seems familiar, contact us. We may be able to help get you the compensation you deserve. 

Mother holds her newborn baby.

Medical Malpractice Can Lead To Many Types Of Birth Injuries

What’s a birth injury anyway? A birth injury is a kind of trauma that may occur before, during, or shortly after delivery. It is important to note a birth injury is not the same as a birth defect. A birth defect is a congenital condition that usually occurs due to a genetic abnormality. A birth injury is the result of some sort of event that may occur during pregnancy or childbirth. In some cases it’s due to a medical professional’s neglect. In cases like these, it’s important for medical professionals to be held accountable for their actions. Or lack thereof. 

Here are some of the ways medical malpractice can lead to different types of birth injuries:

  • Not monitoring the mother properly during pregnancy
  • Failure to monitor baby’s heart rate
  • Delaying or failing to perform a C-section
  • Surgical errors
  • Medication errors
  • Anesthesia complications
  • Prolonging labor
  • Excessive use of pressure during childbirth
  • Improper use of birthing tools/devices (like forceps)
  • Failing to perform a proper ultrasound
  • Inaccurately reading tests

Common Types Of Birth Injuries

Cerebral Palsy

According to the CDC, Cerebral Palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood. It’s estimated that 1-4 per 1,000 births result in Cerebral Palsy.

This disability is characterized by a lack of motor skills, weak muscles, and muscle spasms. Most cases of cerebral palsy are related to damage sustained by the brain during birth. Although treatment can improve the condition, unfortunately there’s no cure for cerebral palsy. This type of birth injury requires a lifetime of therapy and other medical interventions.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves generating in the spinal cord and running down the neck and shoulders. They are responsible for providing sensation and the ability to move in your arms. Using excessive force while trying to pull out a baby during delivery can stretch out these nerves. This stretching can cause lasting symptoms such as:

  • Loss of sensation in the arms
  • Muscle weakness in the arms
  • Paralysis

Facial Paralysis

Similar to brachial plexus injuries, applying too much pressure on a newborn’s face during delivery can result in facial nerve damage. This could lead to facial paralysis. If forceps or vacuum extraction is used, facial paralysis may be more likely to occur. 


Sometimes, bleeding can occur underneath the bones in a baby’s head. This bleeding can be the result of forceps use. While a cephalohematoma may clear up and heal in a few months, it brings its share of other risks. Because of this babies may be at a higher risk for meningitis, jaundice, anemia, or hypotension. 

Oxygen Deprivation (Or Hypoxia)

Oxygen deprivation in newborns is a very real, very scary possibility. Some doctors act negligently and fail to properly monitor the baby during labor/delivery. They may also allow the baby to remain in the birth canal for too long. This can cause oxygen deprivation and result in brain injuries. The results of oxygen deprivation can show up right away or even later in life. Intellectual disabilities and physical motor problems are common in babies who suffered oxygen deprivation. 

Other Types Of Birth Injuries:

While the above listings are more common types of birth injuries, there are other injuries a baby can sustain due to medical malpractice:

  • Hemorrhage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Asphyxia
  • Fractured collarbones
  • Bruising
  • Swelling of the scalp
Newborn baby looks up at mother.

Filing A Claim For A Birth Injury

No matter what type of birth injury your child sustained, it is important to seek justice and compensation for a doctor’s wrongdoings. Successful claims must show:

  • Proof of a doctor-patient relationship
  • The standard of care which should have been followed by the medical professional
  • A breach of the standard of care directly resulting in injury
  • Damages you are claiming

The attorneys at Hampton & King have experience working with many types of birth injuries. While doctors can’t reverse a birth injury, our dedicated team may be able to help you get the compensation and justice you rightly deserve. Reach out for a free consultation today.