Common Birth Injuries and What to Look Out For in Your Newborn

Nagel Rice discusses the most common birth injuries in newborn babies.

Birth injuries are very common and can result in life-altering conditions for a newborn. Medical mistakes, errors, and negligence during labor and delivery can cause permanent disabilities and life-threatening conditions. If a doctor or health care provider’s negligence or errors cause a birth injury, a New Jersey birth injury attorney can help you pursue a medical malpractice claim on behalf of your child and your family.

Common Birth Injuries in Newborns

An infant may sustain a variety of injuries because of negligence during labor and delivery. Some common birth injuries that give rise to medical malpractice claims include:

  • Brachial Plexus Injuries — This type of birth injury is often the result of a doctor trying to pull a newborn who may be stuck in the birth canal. The pressure placed on the brachial plexus (nerves controlling movement in the arm, shoulder, and hand) can result in loss of motor function. In severe cases, it can result in Erb’s Palsy. Symptoms may include pain and weakness in the arm, shoulder, or hand muscles. 
  • Oxygen DeprivationLack of oxygen can result in severe brain damage. Oxygen deprivation can occur when an infant is allowed to remain in the birth canal too long or if the doctor does not closely monitor the infant during and after delivery. Results of oxygen deprivation include seizures, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, and cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is characterized by weak muscles, lack of motor skill development, and muscle spasms. A lack of oxygen may also result in a ruptured blood vessel in the brain that causes excessive bleeding (intracranial hemorrhage) and brain damage.
  • Bones FracturesBone fractures are another common birth injury, especially during difficult deliveries. Many fractures heal without causing permanent impairment, but careful observation and treatment are necessary to facilitate proper healing.
  • Spinal Cord InjuriesSpinal cord injuries are extremely serious for newborns. Injuries to the spinal cord can result in complete and partial paralysis. Improper or forceful use of forceps can result in spinal cord injuries. 
  • Facial InjuriesIf a doctor puts too much pressure on an infant’s facial nerves during delivery, facial nerve palsy can occur. The child can lose voluntary muscle control in the face because of the doctor’s error.
  • Extracranial InjuriesImproper use of forceps or a vacuum extractor can result in a fractured skull and excessive bleeding between the skull and the brain. These injuries can result in a variety of permanent impairments and disfigurement.

Symptoms of Common Birth Injuries

Common symptoms of many birth injuries to look out for include:

  • Seizures
  • Arched back while crying
  • Difficulty feeding or sucking
  • High-pitched crying
  • Muscle weakness, stiffness, or looseness
  • Spasms
  • Head bent toward the body
  • Unusual arm or leg positions
  • Vomiting 
  • Excessive fussiness with no apparent cause
  • Excessive drooling
  • Favoring one side of the body
  • Health symptoms, such as constipation, fever, chills, poor weight gain, jaundice, persistent coughing, low oxygen levels, low heart rate, etc.

There are many other potential injuries that infants may sustain because of medical negligence or errors during labor and delivery. The above list of symptoms is not a complete list of symptoms that could indicate a birth injury. Parents who notice any unexplained symptoms or feel that something is not right should consult another doctor immediately. 

Contact a New Jersey Birth Injury Attorney For a Free Consultation

If your child sustained any of the above birth injuries or other birth injuries, contact our New Jersey birth injury attorney to discuss your child’s condition. We can help you pursue a medical malpractice claim to hold the party responsible for your baby’s injury liable for the harm.

Posted in: Birth Injuries