How do common birth injuries happen?

A new birth should be an exciting time, but unfortunately sometimes things can go wrong. Birth injuries happen in many ways and affect one or multiple areas: the baby’s nervous system, face or brain, for example. In these cases, pinpointing an injury’s exact cause can be tricky. They may be the result of high risk factors, in which trained doctors and nurses did everything correctly. Other times, however, they result from medical mistakes that can be costly.


On occasion, a doctor must use forceps, a tool with pincers, to deliver a baby. Many babies end up perfectly fine, with nary a bruise. But in the worst cases, the infant ends up with nerve or brain damage. Inexperienced wielding of forceps may also lead to facial paralysis – although in many cases, there may be doubt about what exactly caused damage to the facial nerve. It could be a large baby, forceps, a long labor or a combination, in addition to other circumstances.

Squeezing and improper handling

When a baby is born and subsequently handled by medical staff and parents/family members, incorrect handling techniques can lead to broken bones or fractures. A qualified doctor or nurse usually notices what is going on and treats the problem before it becomes worse. Some medical personnel, however, never notice.

Breaks and fractures can occur during birth too, due to the squeezing pressure from slow progress through the birth canal. Common locations for these injuries are the legs, arms, clavicle and collarbone.

Vacuum extraction

In a perfect world, all labors would occur quickly and smoothly. Unfortunately, many take hours, sometimes even spilling from one day into another. When faced with a prolonged labor, doctors may try vacuum extraction.

Suctioning the baby’s head turns out okay in many cases, but sometimes, brain and skull injuries may result. Cephalohematoma is one possible outcome, which is a hemorrhage that may signal a fractured skull. Meningitis, anemia and jaundice are some future problems that have some connection to this injury.

Lack of oxygen

Conditions such as cerebral palsy are sometimes caused by birth injuries that affect the brain. For example, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy results from factors such as medical negligence, insufficient oxygen in the blood and uterine rupture.

When your baby is born with an injury (or several injuries), you may wonder or suspect that improper medical handling or decision-making had something to do with what happened. If you feel unsatisfied with the answers you are getting from the medical personnel, it could be time to contact an attorney.