5 Common Birth Injuries

father with baby

By nature, birth injuries to babies are unexpected and it can be completely devastating for parents and the family. A birth injury is when a baby suffers injury before, during, or after birth. It can be upsetting and you may have feelings of anger and confusion over what has happened.

Some injuries are not foreseeable or may not have been preventable, however, some birth injuries may be due to the substandard level of care provided by medical professionals, such as doctors or midwives. The injury may have been due to an issue that was overlooked during pregnancy or may have been due to a problem that was not correctly treated which may have led to a birth injury.

If your baby had suffered a birth injury and you are concerned about the care that you received during pregnancy or labour, then please get in touch with our birth injury solicitors. Our expert medical negligence solicitors are vastly experienced in helping parents seeking medical compensation as a result of birth injuries.

Many of our cases involve birth injuries as shown below:

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is characterised by a lack of motor skill development, muscle spasms, and weak muscles. In many cases, this condition can be caused by damage to the baby’s brain during birth. There could be various reasons for the damage occurring, such as improper birthing techniques, inadequate monitoring of the mother in labour, and/or inadequate monitoring of foetal distress during labour.

These situations may lead to cerebral palsy and whilst surgery can help the child, it is not a permanent cure. This condition could lead to other health issues, such as hearing and vision impairments, speech difficulties, and learning disabilities. To help manage the symptoms of cerebral palsy, long-term therapy may be needed.


Brachial Plexus

A brachial plexus injury (BPI) occurs when the nerves in the baby’s neck are damaged during delivery. These injuries may involve nerve damages from the upper spins to the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. The most common type of brachial plexus injury is known as Erb’s Palsy or Erb’s Duchenne palsy, and this usually affects the shoulder and the upper arm.

If a baby has a BPI, then it could result in either a temporary or permanent loss of sensation or movement in the arm. The nerve damage can occur if the nerves are compressed, stretched, or in severe cases, separated from the spinal cord. The more severe cases involving torn or ruptured nerves may fail to heal correctly.


Shoulder Dystocia

Although shoulder dystocia is a rare problem that could occur during the baby’s delivery, it can happen and it approximately affects about 1 in every 150 deliveries. This complication is when the baby’s head is born but one of its shoulders becomes stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. It’s important to know that this is not a birth injury in its own right, but the risks that are associated with shoulder dystocia are serious. If this complication is not managed and handled correctly, then it could lead to birth injury of the baby.

Doctors and midwives are trained to recognise the signs of shoulder dystocia and will have the right measures to carry out a safe delivery. However, if an inadequate level of care was provided, then there could be serious consequences.


Broken Bones During Delivery

During the delivery stage, babies are at risk of broken or fractured bones due to a variety of reasons. These broken bones or bone fractures can be caused by excessive pulling or twisting of the baby during delivery, the overly forceful use of forceps, or simply due to shoulder dystocia.

Fractures in the shoulder bone are the most common type and babies that have bone diseases are particularly at risk. With ultrasound, certain types of bone disease can be detected but it may not be possible in every case. It’s important to know that some bone fractures are unavoidable as giving birth can be physically demanding on the mother. The natural force of the mother’s contraction may sometimes be enough to cause a fracture; however, this is rare and the baby can make a full recovery with the right care and treatment.


Oxygen Deprivation

Oxygen deprivation could occur during the delivery of the baby which could lead to brain injuries. As a result of these brain injuries, it can cause cerebral palsy or chronic seizures. If the doctor does not properly monitor the baby during birth or after, or the baby remains in the birth canal for too long, then brain injuries may occur.

There are two main types of oxygen deprivation; anoxia and hypoxia. Anoxia is when a baby is completely deprived of oxygen which means that the baby’s brain could sustain an injury. Even just a few minutes without oxygen could have a lifelong impact. Hypoxia is when there is a reduced flow of oxygen to the baby’s brain. The restricted flow of oxygen to the brain could also cause lifelong effects.


Although some birth injuries may not have been preventable, there are babies who should have been born healthy but have been injured due to an inadequate level of care. Parents want to ensure that their baby has a good quality of life and we can help parents through this situation. Our medical negligence solicitors are committed to finding an explanation of what happened and we can help parents to seek a settlement to help alleviate the financial pressures associated with caring for a child who has sustained a birth injury.


Contact BTTJ Medical Negligence for Birth Injury Claims

We understand how upsetting it can be to talk about what has happened and how overwhelming the consequences of clinical negligence are. At BTTJ Medical Negligence, we have a team of legal professionals and medical negligence specialists who are exceptionally experienced at handling these types of cases. All advice and information are treated with total confidentiality, compassion, and care.

If you have suffered from birth injury negligence and you would like to discuss a birth injury claim, then please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

You can call us on 0800 032 2474 or you can send us an email here.