Types and Causes of Common Birth Injuries in Babies

Types and Causes of Common Birth Injuries in Babies

Types and Causes of Common Birth Injuries in Babies

When your baby is born, you want nothing more than to protect them from harm. Unfortunately, many parents do not get this chance. When a baby is injured during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, parents are often left wondering why? They may wonder what could have caused this injury, and how they could have prevented it.

First, it is important for parents to understand that a birth injury is not their fault. There are many causes of birth injuries. In many cases, a birth injury is a devastating event that could not have been prevented or anticipated. However, in some cases, a birth injury is caused by a doctor’s or medical professional’s negligence.

When medical negligence is suspected, families need someone on their side to help them pursue compensation and justice. An experienced birth injury lawyer can help during this difficult time.

Types of Common Birth Injuries

What is a birth injury? A birth injury is any type of injury or damage suffered during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, or shortly after birth. Even minor injuries that result in no lasting damage are still considered birth injuries.

It is estimated that 28,000 babies a year are born with some type of birth injury in the United States. These injuries can range from minor bruises and scrapes to more serious and life-threatening brain injuries.

Some of the most common types of birth injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Hypoxic brain injury
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Kernicterus
  • Paralysis
  • Meconium aspiration
  • Infections, such as Herpes or Group B Strep
  • Bleeding inside skull
  • Skull fractures
  • Caput succedaneum
  • Cephalohematoma
  • Clavicle fractures
  • Facial paralysis
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Facial or scalp lacerations
  • Shoulder dystocia

Causes of Birth Injuries

There are many causes of birth injuries. Anything that physically disrupts the baby’s development or interferes with their oxygen supply can cause a birth injury. The most common causes of birth injury include:

Oxygen Deprivation

A baby needs oxygen to grow, develop, and sustain life. They get this oxygen in the womb through their umbilical cord, which is attached to the mother by the placenta. Any damage to the cord or placenta can result in oxygen deprivation. Some of the most common causes of oxygen deprivation are:

  • Placental abruption
  • Umbilical cord entanglement
  • Maternal infections
  • Uterine rupture


There are numerous infections that can affect both the mother and the baby. These infections are serious and life-threatening if not identified quickly. Babies may be unable to fight these infections on their own and can quickly suffer serious harm. As a result, they can suffer permanent disability, injury, or brain damage.

Medical Negligence

Babies can suffer serious harm when a doctor or medical professional fails to uphold the standard of care. There are many ways a doctor’s negligence could result in a serious birth injury or birth trauma. Some of those include:

  • Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors
  • Improper use of labor-inducing drugs
  • Failure to monitor baby or mother during labor and delivery
  • Failure to recognize signs of fetal distress
  • Failure to order a C-section
  • Improperly administered medication or anesthesia
  • Failure to diagnose a breech position
  • Failure to diagnose a fetal abnormality

Delayed Birth

When labor and delivery go on for too long, the results can be disastrous. In fact, delayed birth is one of the leading causes of birth injury. A baby’s brain is only able to withstand the forces of labor for a certain amount of time.

In general, labors that last over 18 hours increase the pressure inside of the baby’s brain. As a result, the baby may begin exhibiting signs of fetal distress. The baby’s body then increases the blood pressure inside, which can lead to serious and fatal brain bleeds.

Contact Our Providence Birth Injury Lawyers Today

If your baby suffered a serious birth injury, medical negligence could be the cause. When this occurs, you and your family need a law firm on your side that can fight aggressively for your child’s future. Birth injuries can be severe and life-changing. They may even result in a lifetime of pain and suffering for your child. Your lawyer can help you hold negligent physicians, hospitals, and medical professionals accountable for their negligence.

At Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd, our Providence birth injury attorneys represent injured babies and their families after a devastating birth injury. Call us today at (401) 283-0745 or fill out our confidential contact form for a free initial consultation and review of your case. We offer complete, compassionate legal assistance every step of the way.