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A birth injury is a scary thing to face. What every parent wants the most is to have a healthy and happy baby. Unfortunately, sometimes injuries occur before, during, or after birth. In some cases, injuries can heal and the baby can recover. However, in some cases injuries leave permanent effects such as disabilities, learning disorders, paralysis, brain damage, and sometimes death. In this post, we explain the most common birth injuries resulting from medical malpractice. If your infant was injured during birth, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice is a contributing factor to a birth injury if medical personnel acted carelessly during the pregnancy, birth, and aftercare of your baby. An experienced birth injury attorney can help you understand your options.

Most Common Birth Injuries Due to Medical Malpractice

Brachial Palsy

Brachial palsy occurs when the brachial plexus is injured. The brachial plexus contains the nerves that cause movement in the upper extremities, the arms and hands. Brachial palsy is most often caused when the baby’s shoulders become stuck in the pelvic bone of the mother during birth. This is called shoulder dystocia. Injuries to the brachial plexus can occur if the doctor pulls improperly or with excessive force while the baby is being delivered.

Facial Paralysis

Facial paralysis can result if the baby’s face is met with excessive pressure during birth. This pressure causes damaged nerves. Some facial paralysis injuries are minor and heal within weeks. More severe injuries can cause permanent paralysis. Paralysis symptoms include inability to move facial muscles or close an eye. This kind of injury can result from birthing tools such as forceps or a birthing vacuum.

Brain Injury


Brain injuries occur if there is a lack of oxygen flow to the brain. Oxygen deprivation happens commonly during birth. Brain injuries during birth can lead to problems such as seizures, hemorrhaging, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and motor impairments. Oxygen deprivation during birth can result from a number of medical care errors including failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord, leaving the baby in the birth canal for too long, or failure to properly monitor the baby after birth.


Cephalohematoma is bleeding under the cranium. A bump on the head may indicate cephalohematoma. This can occur from use of forceps. While the bump will usually go away within several months, cephalohematoma can lead to jaundice, anemia, and in rare cases, meningitis.


Most fracture injuries are minor and heal within days. A fracture occurs when the doctor pulls with excessive force when the baby is in the “breech” position. This is when the baby’s buttocks are delivered first instead of the head resulting from how the baby is positioned before birth. The most common type of fracture occurs in the collarbone.

Caput Succedaneum

Caput succedaneum is swelling of tissue on the head. Swelling can be caused by use of a vacuum during birth. The swelling usually heals within a few days.

Contact Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC

Atlanta metro area attorneys at Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC know the level of emotional support and legal representation needed by families recovering from a birth injury. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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