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5 Devastating Birth Injuries That are More Common Than You Think

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An estimated 3 out of every 100 children born in the United States are born with a birth injury. A child suffering a physical birth injury can be catastrophic. Knowing the signs of these common birth injuries can be detrimental during the birth process and can save your child from having to live their entire life with a serious or debilitating disability.

Facial Paralysis

Facial paralysis occurs when there is an inflammation of the facial nerve, which can cause muscles on one side to droop. Most of the time, the cause of facial paralysis is unknown, however, experts suggest if doctors apply too much force or having a difficult delivery during childbirth there is an increased risk of congenital facial nerve palsy. Sadly, the result of this is the child is unable to control their facial muscles. When an infant loses muscular control in their face, the facial paralysis injury can be permanent, life long or diminish over time.

Brachial Palsy

Brachial plexus palsy is also known as Erb’s palsy and it is an injury that occurs during birth when a newborns neck gets stretched beyond a safe distance. Common causes of this can be if a baby is large, the wrong positioning of the child occurs during delivery or side effects to the delivery drugs. According to birth injury expert Debi Chalik of Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers, “Most of the time these cases require surgical intervention and even when there is surgery there will be improvement of the use of arm but it will never be the way it should be.”

Common symptoms of erb's palsy include numbness or paralysis in your child's arms or fingers. Luckily, with the help of physical therapy and surgery (if necessary) the brachial nerves can be treated. However, they may take a lot of time to recover depending on the child and the severity of the case.


Did you know babies are born with more bones than adults? Over time a child's bone fuses together to create the 206 bones the average adult has. 1 in every 1,000 children get a bone fracture during labor and delivery. %45 of the time the bone that is broken is the child's clavicle. This injury can occur if the mothers birth canal is an unusual shape or if the child is in the womb in an unusual birth position such as being foot-first.


Cephalohematoma is a traumatic hemorrhage of blood between the skull and the periosteum. It occurs underneath the skin and causes pools of blood to form from damaged blood vessels between the skull and the inner layer of the skin.

Cephalohematoma usually occurs during delivery and if there is evidence of birth trauma. Birth trauma can be linked to medical negligence and since Cephalohematoma is an internal injury, it can often be very hard to see. Look for symptoms such as anemia, infection, jaundice or unnatural forms on the child's head. If you spot any of these symptoms, contact your physician immediately.

Caput Succedaneum

Caput succedaneum is a medical term that is described as a neonatal condition in which the child’s scalp swells. This birth injury occurs shortly after delivery and can be brought on by pressure from the uterus or vaginal wall during a head first delivery. This usually occurs after the membranes have broken in the amniotic sac. The amniotic sac acts as a cushion for the baby's head. Vacuum extraction during birth delivery can also be a cause of caput succedaneum. Symptoms will be present immediately following delivery so If you notice your child's scalp is swollen or puffy - let your doctor know immediately. Luckily, this problem does clear up in a few days and complete recovery is expected!

Knowing the symptoms and signs of some of the most common birth injuries can help you react quickly in the unfortunate and unlikely event your child experiences any of these. Contact your physician immediately if you have noticed any of these symptoms present following childbirth.

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