Published On: Tue, Nov 7th, 2017

Understanding Birth-Related Injuries

Many types of injuries can occur at birth, ranging from the mild to the more severe. Some of these injuries may be permanent or life-threatening, which can make pregnant mothers feel anxious about what will happen in the delivery room.

This photograph shows the cataracts in a child’s eyes due to Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).
Rubella is a viral disease that can affect susceptible persons of any age. Although generally a mild rash, if contracted in early pregnancy, there can be a high rate of fetal wastage or birth defects, known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).

According to the Birth Injury Guide, 28,000 babies are born in America each year with a birth injury. Fifty perfect of these injuries were potentially avoidable with proper obstetric care. With this in mind, it’s important to be aware of the different types of birth injury and the signs to look out for during pregnancy and beyond.


In some instances, B strep or meningitis can be passed to the infant from the mother without her knowledge. Every one in every four women will carry these infections without symptoms, and babies become infected when they pass through the birth canal. Thanks to modern medicine, these instances are rare, as infections are typically picked up by the mother’s physician during pregnancy. However, it pays to be aware of the signs so you can minimize the risk.

Pregnancy-Related Injuries

One of the reasons it’s so imperative to receive proper healthcare when you’re expecting is that conditions developed during pregnancy can pass to the unborn infant. Examples include anemia, spina bifida and folic acid deficiency. In most cases, these abnormalities are picked up during routine scans, and taking supplements during pregnancy can also prevent them.

During Delivery

Injuries from vacuum extractors or forceps are incredibly common, and they’re not usually severe. Sometimes tools are needed to assist a difficult delivery, and these can result in minor head injuries and lacerations to the infant. Depending on the extent of the injuries, babies may need extra care once they are born, but they will usually recover well.

photo Dr. Michael Rauzzino,. Screenshot/video NBC

Brain Injuries

Brain injuries can occur as a result of oxygen deprivation, newborn jaundice becoming kernicterus and meningitis. The most common birth-related brain injury is cerebral palsy, which can develop in a variety of ways including infant stroke, infection, and oxygen deprivation.

What’s more, in many instances, cerebral palsy is preventable, and it occurs as a result of medical negligence. For example, if a doctor fails to monitor the fetal heart rate and doesn’t recognize distress in time to take action, the infant’s brain could become damaged. In this case, the parent should consider looking into cerebral palsy compensation claims to help with the costs of caring for a child with this condition.

Newborns are Stronger Than You Think

Newborn babies have a great capacity to heal, so many common birth injuries will resolve under careful observation. However, it pays to trust your instincts. As a parent, you can never be too careful when it comes to your baby’s health, and it’s better to be overcautious in those early days than to miss something crucial.

If you’re worried about your health in pregnancy or you’re concerned about birth-related injuries, talk to your physician and request further observation.

Author: Carol Trehearn

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