Birth Injuries: All You Need to Know

baby playing with feetMedical malpractice can come in numerous forms and can put many people in danger. However, few forms of medical malpractice are more devastating than a negligent act resulting in the harm of a baby during pregnancy or delivery. Birth injuries are some of the worst types of damages that can arise from medical negligence.

If you are an expecting or new parent, you need to know all about birth injuries and what they mean for you and your family. Having an idea of the different types of birth injuries can help you recognize your rights to file a lawsuit should someone’s negligence play a role in your baby’s injuries.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the most common types of birth injuries. These injuries often have long-term effects on your baby’s life, including the ability to develop, muscle tone, and more. We’ll also explain the potential legal options available to pursue justice.

These are some of the most common birth injuries:

Read below to learn about each of these injuries.

Call our firm at (800) 294-6637 to discuss your rights after a birth injury.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a condition that encompasses multiple disorders. All the problems associated with cerebral palsy can impact a baby’s brain, leading to issues with posture, muscle tone, and more. Unfortunately, cerebral palsy is one of the more common types of birth injuries, and it has a significant impact on a baby’s life.

Symptoms of cerebral palsy can include the following:

  • Muscle tone issues – Your baby’s muscles or limbs are either floppy or stiff. He or she may show signs of spasticity (exaggerated reflexes in stiff muscles) or rigidity (normal reflexes in stiff muscles).
  • Balance and coordination issues – You may notice your child has ataxia, which impacts his or her ability to balance correctly. He or she may also have coordination issues.
  • Movement issues – Your baby may move involuntarily and experience tremors. While they may be rapid movements, your baby can also make slow movements that appear as writhing.
  • Developmental issues – As your baby grows older, you expect him or her to reach certain milestones. If time passes and your baby is not reaching those milestones, it may be due to a disability such as cerebral palsy. These milestone issues include the following:
    • Not walking by the age at which he or she should
    • Not eating or sucking properly
    • Not speaking clearly

Learning difficulties, motor skills, and cognitive abilities can also suffer because of cerebral palsy. Your baby may have trouble picking up utensils simply because of this condition. Another physical symptom can include random seizures, which can be scary for any parent to experience.

Shoulder Dystocia

Often resulting from problems that occur during labor, shoulder dystocia can result in physical damage to your baby’s nerves. This injury usually occurs when your baby becomes stuck behind your pelvic bones during delivery. As a result, you can suffer harm, and your baby can also suffer damages.

The main problems associated with shoulder dystocia involve your baby suffering collarbone fractures, brachial plexus nerve damage, and asphyxia—a lack of oxygen. However, you, as a mother, can also suffer hemorrhaging, perineum tearing, or uterine rupture.

Your doctor must recognize any of the warning signs that can result in shoulder dystocia and come up with a plan to ensure safe delivery.

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is the result of your baby experiencing oxygen deprivation before birth or during the delivery process. While your baby can compensate for oxygen deprivation over a brief period, an extended lack of oxygen can lead to significant problems.

Your child can suffer damage to his or her brain tissue as oxygen deprivation lingers. As a result, he or she may experience various impairments in terms of physical and mental abilities. In the worst-case scenario, HIE can even result in fatal injuries.

The severity of your baby’s injuries often depends on how long the deprivation continues and the gestational age at which the injury occurs. The earlier in the pregnancy this type of damage occurs, the worse the symptoms can be for your baby.

Head Injuries

While head injuries can occur for numerous reasons, the improper use of birth-aiding tools is one of the most significant factors. While forceps and vacuum extractors are not as common as they once were in delivery rooms, it’s still possible for doctors to rely on them to aid in labor. It’s often this infrequent use that results in a doctor who has no experience with birth-aiding tools.

When doctors don’t have a clear idea of how to use forceps or vacuum extractors properly, they can make mistakes when it comes time to utilize these instruments. As a result, improper use can cause significant head injuries, and your baby may experience bruising, swelling, or other problems.

In the worst-case scenarios, too much pressure can lead to skull fractures or internal bleeding. The doctor who is responsible for the labor must practice caution when using these tools to help you deliver your baby.


You may not know it, but there are times when a birth injury results from an infection that you may pass to your baby during your pregnancy. While many people may think that this removes any responsibility from the doctor in the matter, the medical physician still has a duty to detect and treat any infections you may have.

A baby can suffer injuries such as group B strep infection or meningitis because you may have it. However, if your doctor catches the infection soon enough to treat it, you lessen the risk of your baby suffering from it as well.

There are also infections that your baby may suffer after delivery if your doctor and the nursing staff don’t take proper care of your baby. For instance, if your baby is under severe stress during the delivery and defecates in your uterus, he or she runs the risk of inhaling meconium, which may lead to long-term breathing issues.

If your baby suffers harm at the hands of a medical professional, know that you have the right to take legal action. Your baby shouldn’t have to endure long-term harm because of a doctor’s negligence, but it can happen when mistakes arise.

As the mother of a child who suffers a birth injury, you can pursue justice and compensation. You can hold the doctor accountable for his or her actions. However, it can help to work with an attorney who can assist you in making the right decisions when going through the legal process.

At Fieger Law, we’re aware of the struggles your family may encounter because of a birth injury. We want to help you with the long and strenuous hardships you may experience following the injury by standing by your side and helping you hold medical professionals liable for the harm they cause.

Our birth injury lawyers are ready to be in your corner every step of the way. We’ll investigate the cause of your baby’s injuries and work to determine the course of action that helps you most favorably. Let us be your partner in the journey for justice.

Call our firm today at (800) 294-6637 and discover more about your legal options following a birth injury resulting from doctor negligence.


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