The most common birth injuries and how to deal with them

In the United States, about 7 in every 1,000 children born will suffer from a birth injury, but the mother can also be injured from the delivery.

Depending on the study, 50-80% of women experience tearing of the pelvic skin or muscle, while 1 in 10 has severe tearing or damage.

The most common birth injuries in the United States

Childbirth can be a traumatic experience for the mother and infant, sometimes as a result of harm or neglect from healthcare professionals. In these cases, you’ll need a birth injury lawyer.

General brain damage

Brain damage can occur when an infant suffers from head or brain trauma during delivery. Umbilical cord choking, brain infections, blunt force, asphyxiation, and bleeding in the brain can all cause permanent brain damage that could result in learning disabilities or long-term disability.

Cerebral palsy

About 85% of people who have cerebral palsy develop the condition during birth. Severe brain injuries caused by medical negligence, heart attacks, fever, asphyxiation, and strokes can cause speech and development delays and lack of muscle control. Cerebral palsy has no cure.

Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy occurs as a result of brachial plexus nerve damage. A child who has Erb’s palsy will have paralysis in their hands, arms, or shoulders. Erb’s palsy is more likely to develop if a child is pulled by their feet during delivery or the child’s head gets stuck under the pelvic bone.

Intrauterine detal demise

1 in every 100 pregnancies results in intrauterine fetal demise or stillbirths. While genetic, health, and environmental factors can play a part in this injury, a stillbirth can occur if a mother is pregnant with more than one fetus or the umbilical cord prolapse during pregnancy.

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

HIE is diagnosed if the infant suffers from a lack of blood flow and oxygen during birth. Mothers that undergo prolonged labor are more likely to bear a child with HIE as the baby may switch positions and cut off their umbilical cord, causing blood to form in the placenta. 

How to deal with common birth injuries

If your child was born with a birth injury, there are plenty of things you can do to receive compensation or help with your infant. Here are some avenues for you to explore.

Physical and/or speech therapy

Children born with brain injuries may suffer from speech or physical defects that may delay development. With the help of physical therapists, you can conduct non-invasive physical treatments, like messages and exercises. Speech therapy can help control speech muscles.

Medications and natural remedies

If a birth injury results in physical and neurological pain, medication and some natural remedies can help your child live a normal life. Natural remedies should never replace medicines that help treat severe symptoms, like seizures or muscle spasms, but they can help with mild pain.

Surgery (to cure or relieve pain)

Birth injuries, like Erb’s palsy and HIE, can be cured through surgery in most cases, but it can’t cure others, like cerebral palsy. However, surgery can be used to reduce pain and maximize functionality in the feet, arms, hips, legs, and spine for people with severe cerebral palsy.

Purchase adaptive equipment

Wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, braces, and orthotic boots can help people with cerebral palsy walk, but toilet chairs, gait trainers, and sleep aids can help patients live. If you need help affording this equipment, we recommend applying for disability or speaking to a lawyer.

Speak to a birth injury lawyer

If you suspect your birth injury was caused by neglect or abuse, you should contact a birth injury lawyer right away. As caring for a disabled child can be expensive, you may need someone who can help you receive lifetime disability benefits or a lump sum payment for medical needs. 

Photo by Hollie Santos