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What constitutes a birth injury? Is it different from other types of defects?

The term “birth injury” encompasses any harm or damage done to the baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or shortly after the birth. Some injuries occur purely by accident, while others may be the result of medical malpractice. If the healthcare professionals involved in the delivery neglect to monitor the baby’s condition, your little one may suffer physical harm during or shortly after their birth. Some birth injuries eventually heal on their own, while others can cause lifelong impairments and disabilities.

If your child suffered an injury during pregnancy, delivery, or shortly thereafter, consult with a reliable injury attorney to discuss your options. Medical malpractice comes in many forms, and you deserve justice for your ordeal. Read on for more in-depth information about the most common types of birth injuries and what you can do about them.

Cerebral Palsy

On average, two or three out of every 1,000 children are born with cerebral palsy. This condition often brings with it weakened motor skills and occasional muscle spasms. It’s a motor disorder characterized by involuntary spasms and movements, and can affect muscle development. Occasionally, cerebral palsy develops while the baby is still in utero.

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disorder in children, and it is often caused by malpractice in the delivery room. All of the healthcare professionals assisting in the delivery must monitor the laboring mother regularly—there’s no room for distraction or passivity.

In addition, the doctors and nurses must monitor the baby’s condition with equal alertness. Hypoxic episodes (when there isn’t enough oxygen in the baby’s blood) can occur during delivery if the little one is in too much distress. In some cases, birth asphyxia (oxygen deprivation) can also lead to cerebral palsy.

Currently, there is no cure for cerebral palsy, and cases vary widely in severity. Your child may only suffer minor spasms and poor motor skills—or they could develop learning disabilities and have difficulty becoming independent.

Oxygen Deprivation

We touched on it earlier, but birth asphyxia can have drastic effects on a child’s development. The oxygen deprivation can lead to cerebral palsy (see above), but other brain injuries could develop if the baby doesn’t get enough air.

The obstetrician performing the delivery must monitor the baby’s condition at all times, ensuring that it gets enough oxygen. If the baby lingers in the birth canal for too long, it could begin to suffocate. It’s the doctor’s responsibility to keep both eyes on that baby. If the healthcare professionals in the room are distracted or don’t seem to care, they put that child at extreme risk.

Even mild oxygen deprivation can lead to developmental disabilities later on. If you believe that your child’s delayed development is caused by birth asphyxia, call an Idaho birth injury attorney and tell them your story. Raising a child with additional developmental concerns can be costly, and if medical malpractice is involved, the guilty party should provide restitution.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Forceps are a powerful tool used in delivery, and they can assist greatly when bringing your little one into the world. However, the obstetrician must use them correctly to keep your baby safe.

Infants are delicate creatures. They must be handled carefully, not jostled or pulled about. A spinal cord injury during birth can be devastating to a child’s development. Your baby may hesitate to leave the womb, but it’s the doctor’s responsibility to adhere to their standard of care. Improper or reckless use of delivery instruments can cause lifelong complications for your little one.

If your baby was born with a spinal cord injury, talk to your attorney and look into what actually occurred during the birth. Forceps and vacuum extractors can be extremely helpful during birth—but only if the doctor uses them correctly.


Delivery is physically difficult on everybody involved. While healthcare professionals in the room are dedicated to helping and monitoring the laboring mother, the baby can feel that stress, too. Difficult or high-risk deliveries can result in a variety of delivery-related injuries.

One of the most common injuries during the birthing process is a clavicle or collarbone fracture. When the baby doesn’t want to leave the womb, or if it’s in a breech position, there may be trouble delivering its shoulder. This type of injury is not necessarily caused by malpractice. Even the best obstetricians encounter stubborn babies, and luckily, collarbone fractures often heal on their own with the right treatment.


This is a long word for a bleed between the baby’s cranial bone and the fibrous covering around it. Cephalohematomas will often manifest as a bump on the baby’s head several hours after birth. It is crucial for healthcare professionals to continue monitoring the mother and child even after the delivery. If they catch that bump early on, doctors can treat it and it will eventually recede. Most of the time, the baby’s body just reabsorbs that blood within two weeks to three months.

However, if nobody notices and catches that cephalohematoma, your baby could develop jaundice as the red blood cells in that bump break down. As your child grows, they may develop anemia, hypotension, or even meningitis. During the delivery and the recovery process, your doctors should be checking on you and your baby on a regular basis. If you raise a concern about your baby’s little head, they should show that same concern.

Pregnancy and childbirth are some of the most rewarding and wondrous experiences of a person’s life, but they also carry some steep risks with them. During the entire process, make sure that your doctors and other healthcare professionals are as dedicated to your baby’s safety as you are. The delivery room is a high-stress environment, but everyone involved must follow the highest standards of care. If your obstetrician is too strong with the forceps, your baby’s development could suffer. If the nurses aren’t monitoring your condition, your delivery could go sideways, so to speak. Know about the most common types of birth injuries and what you can do about them. Some may be unavoidable or pure accidents, but others could be rooted in medical negligence or malpractice. Talk to an experienced injury attorney about your ordeal and strategize your next steps together.

The 5 Most Common Types of Birth Injuries