What is the Most Common Birth Injury?

By Greg Kohn

During labor and delivery, many different kinds of birth injuries are possible. Both mother and infant are highly vulnerable at these stages. Sometimes, despite the best intentions of the healthcare professionals, mistakes can happen.

If your baby suffered a birth injury, you might want to talk to a New Jersey birth injury attorney as soon as possible. There are short deadlines for taking legal action in these cases. Let’s explore the issue of what is the most common birth injury.

The Most Common Birth Injury

The Merck Manual says that head injury is the most common birth-related injury. The change in the shape of the baby’s head that is the result of pressure on the head during a vaginal delivery is not an injury. The infant’s head will become more rounded within a few days after the delivery. These are some of the different types of injuries to a baby’s head that can happen during labor and delivery:

  • Bleeding outside of the skull bones, including hematomas and hemorrhage under the scalp
  • Skull fractures
  • Bleeding in and around the brain
  • Facial nerve injury
  • Damage from forceps delivery

Depending on the type and severity of the head injury, the infant might recuperate within a matter of days or could face lifelong impairment.

Other Common Birth Injuries

There are many other kinds of birth injuries. Stanford Children’s Health says that these are some of the more common birth injuries:

  • Brachial palsy. When a group of nerves that innervate the arms and hands gets injured during delivery, the baby can lose the ability to rotate and flex the arm.
  • Bruising and lacerations, when babies delivered by vacuum extraction or forceps have marks or bruises on their face and head or cuts on the scalp. Some babies delivered by vacuum extraction develop caput succedaneum, which is significant swelling of the soft tissues of the scalp.
  • Broken collarbone or clavicle, a fracture that can happen during a difficult delivery.
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage, which is when small blood vessels in the baby’s eye break during labor and delivery. There might be a bright red band in the white part of one or both of the eyes. Usually, the redness is temporary.

Many of these conditions happen frequently and leave little if any long-term medical issues. Some other birth injuries, like cerebral palsy, are less frequent but more severe than some of the common birth injuries.

What to Do if Your Child Suffered a Birth Injury

If your infant’s birth injury was the result of medical negligence on the part of a healthcare professional, you might be eligible to pursue an award of money damages in compensation. Your child might face a lifetime of high medical expenses and need a life care plan to address impairments and special needs.

There is a time limit for bringing legal action to seek money damages for your child’s birth injury. If you miss the deadline, New Jersey law will bar you forever from seeking compensation for your child’s injuries. A New Jersey personal injury attorney can advocate aggressively to hold the at-fault party accountable for the harm inflicted upon your child.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.