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How Do You Know What Causes Birth Injuries?

The moments leading up to the birth of a child should be filled with joyful anticipation. But when complications occur and results in injury to the baby, it can leave parents shocked, confused and overwhelmed with worry.

If your newborn suffered an injury like a fractured collarbone, facial paralysis or nerve damage during delivery, understanding exactly what happened can be challenging. Hospital staff and health providers may use complex medical terminology to explain it which only heightens feelings of anxiety and helplessness.

Having clear insights into what factors specifically caused the birth injury is important for the child’s treatment plan and potential recovery. It also determines if negligence was involved which would impact your legal options upon knowing what causes birth injuries. Arm yourself with the right information early so you can focus on getting your child the best care possible.

Types of Birth Injuries: Understanding the Risks

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Childbirth can bring joy, but sometimes, birth injuries occur. Awareness is crucial; let’s explore common types:

  1. Brachial Plexus Injuries: Damage to arm nerves can cause partial or complete paralysis.
  2. Fractures: Excessive force during birth may lead to collarbone or thigh bone fractures.
  3. Cerebral Palsy: Brain damage before/during/after birth can result in movement and coordination issues.
  4. Perinatal Asphyxia: Oxygen deprivation during birth can cause brain damage and developmental delays.
  5. Facial Nerve Injuries: Instrumentation during labor may cause facial weakness or paralysis.
  6. Spinal Cord Injuries: Rare but severe, these injuries can lead to sensation loss or paralysis.

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in mitigating the impact of birth injuries. If you have concerns about a potential birth injury, seek the expertise of a neonatal specialist for prompt evaluation and care.

Also read: Giving Birth While Traveling

What Causes Birth Injuries? Finding Out The Root Problem

Digging Into Incident Reports

After a birth injury occurs, hospital staff are required to provide detailed incident reports documenting step-by-step what transpired during labor and delivery. While clinical in nature, these records can help paint a picture of:

  • Timeline of key events – When specific complications arose and which interventions were attempted in response.
  • Notable health factors – Any pre-existing maternal health conditions that posed heightened risk.
  • Areas of concern – Errors in judgement, inappropriate use of interventions like vacuum extraction, etc.

Do not hesitate to ask questions and request clarity around complex medical terminology used in these documents. An experienced birth injury lawyer can also help interpret these reports from a legal standpoint. Stalwart Law’s team of attorneys has frequently been called “The Best Birth Injury Lawyers In California.”

Exploring Underlying Risk Factors

While the incident reports detail the sequence of delivery events, it is also important to work with your care team to understand any underlying risk factors at play.

Some examples include:

  • Labor and delivery approach – Attempting a complex vaginal birth after previous c-sections (VBACs) versus opting for a scheduled c-section can impact risk.
  • Fetal positioning – Breech positioning often heightens chances of nerve damage or fractures.
  • Presence of infection – Certain maternal infections increase injury risks.

Documenting these risk factors will not only help determine the cause of birth trauma but also inform recommendations for future pregnancies.

Also read: Best Parenting Books

Asking Direct Questions

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Do not be afraid to directly ask health providers caring for you and your child questions like:

  • What precisely caused the specific injury my child suffered?
  • Were there any errors in judgment made during the delivery?
  • What could have been done differently to potentially prevent the birth injury?

While challenging conversations, understanding perspective from the care team provides important puzzle pieces as you determine next steps. Consider bringing an advocate like your partner or a birth injuries lawyer to appointments to take notes and ask follow up questions with regards to the birth trauma.

Key Takeaways

Digging into the specifics around what caused your child’s birth injury undoubtedly intensifies already strong emotions. While complex, having clarity empowers you to make informed care decisions and understand negligence factors.

Lean on familial support, counseling services, and legal guidance during this difficult process. And do not hesitate to keep asking questions until you feel you truly understand the birth injury cause and contributing risk variables.


What percentage of birth injuries point to medical negligence?

Estimates vary, but a portion of preventable cerebral palsy cases do stem from medical errors during childbirth.

Should I consider legal counsel about my child’s injury?

Consulting a birth injury lawyer helps you understand your rights and options should negligence have played a role.

What medical specialists may be involved?

For nerve injuries, specialists like pediatric neurologists can localize damage. High-risk obstetricians also review cases.

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