The Most Common Birth Injuries In Newborns

3 Mins read
  • It's important to be aware of birth injuries in newborns and do what's possible to prevent them. Here's what to know

Childbirth is a complex process that poses injury risks to the infant. Sometimes the trauma is unavoidable, but in most cases, injuries are the result of negligence on the doctor’s part. Also, some injuries are treatable through simple medical procedures or alternative and complementary medicine, while others are not. Below are some of the most common childbirth injuries to watch out for:

Bone fractures

Due to the narrowness of the birth canal, babies endure a lot of pressure during birth. This pressure can lead to fractures, with the collarbone and the thigh-bone being among the most affected parts. A bone fracture can also occur after birth due to the careless handling of the baby. If that happens in the hands of the doctor or nurse, the baby’s family may be eligible for a medical malpractice claim against the responsible medical professional.

Brachial plexus injuries

Brachial plexus injuries affect a group of nerves located in the neck. The injury occurs when the head and shoulders are pulled apart forcefully or when too much pressure is applied on the neck or shoulder region.

Brachial plexus nerve injuries can affect people of all ages, but newborns are most affected because, occasionally, babies get stuck in the birth canal during birth. This is known as shoulder dystocia.

Consider filing a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for any brachial plexus injuries you feel were caused by doctor negligence. Reputable forensic economists such as The Knowles Group will help you maximize your compensation.

Cerebral palsy

If the brain of the baby is damaged during birth, it may lead to cerebral palsy. Common causes of brain damage include improper birth methods, failure to monitor fetal distress, and failure to offer the mother sufficient care during labor.

When children develop this condition, they become prone to motor development abnormalities, muscle weakness, and muscle spasms.

Caput Succedaneum

Caput Succedaneum is a condition characterized by the swelling of the soft tissues in a baby’s scalp. It occurs when a vacuum extraction tool is misapplied during birth. Babies with this condition often sustain swollenness in the face and show signs of discomfort.

Birth asphyxia

Birth asphyxia occurs when there is insufficient blood or oxygen to a baby’s brain during birth. In the absence of nutrients and oxygen, cells cannot function properly. Acids and other waste products accumulate as a result, causing temporary or permanent cell damage. The degree of harm may depend on factors such as the level of oxygen and how quickly treatment is administered.


Hypoglycemia occurs when the baby’s glucose or blood sugar level is lower than normal. A significant reduction in glucose levels can lead to permanent brain damage and result in serious developmental issues.

Hypoglycemia affects infants because when babies are born, they are handed the role of producing their own glucose as the supply from the mother is cut. Some babies have fewer blood sugar reserves, and attaining healthy levels may take some time.

Facial paralysis

Some newborns sustain damage to the seventh cranial nerve (facial nerve), causing them to lose the ability to control their facial muscles. The most common culprit behind this is the exertion of too much pressure on the child’s face during birth. Doctors often attribute this to incorrect use of forceps, the baby being too large, and prolonged labor.

The severity of facial paralysis can be anything between specific muscle weakness and a total inability to move the face. Regardless of the cause and severity, there is a chance that your child will recover in a short time. Make sure to see a pediatrician as soon as you notice signs of facial paralysis to determine the cause of the condition and devise a treatment plan for your baby.


Dystonia is a condition typified by abnormal postures and involuntary muscle movements. Infants face different forms of dystonia, from the kind that affects only one muscle to those affecting groups of muscles or the entire body.

Infant dystonia can be a product of genetics or a birth injury that alters the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain. Birth injury-induced dystonia is known as acquired dystonia; its severity varies from child to child, and successful treatment is possible if medical attention is sought on time.

Subconjunctival hemorrhage

When a baby has a subconjunctival hemorrhage, they will have red discolorations in their eyeballs. The condition may seem terrifying at first, but it will most likely go away after a week or two.

Causes of subconjunctival hemorrhage include:

  • Fetal distress: Fetal distress can arise from asphyxiation, bruising, physical injury, post-term labor, or premature labor.
  • Difficult delivery: When a delivery lasts for more than 18 hours, the baby experiences extreme pressure along the birth canal and may sustain injuries, including subconjunctival hemorrhage.
  • Asphyxia: Asphyxia happens when the baby doesn’t receive sufficient oxygen during birth.


Learning that your newborn baby has sustained an injury is one of the scariest things a parent can hear. Luckily, you can lower the risk of this by visiting or taking your loved one to a reputable birth center. Alternative medicines during pregnancy may also help boost your baby’s health and prevent injuries during birth.

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