Birth Injuries: Causes and Consequences

birth injuries

Around 30,000 babies are born in the U.S. each year with some form of birth injury. A birth injury refers to any physical harm or damage sustained by a newborn baby before, during, or shortly after the process of childbirth. These injuries can occur due to a variety of factors and may range from mild to severe. It’s important to differentiate birth defects from birth injuries, which are typically congenital conditions that occur before birth.

Consequences of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can be devastating for several reasons, including decreased quality of life and the emotional and psychological toll they can take on both the affected child and their family. Birth injuries can lead to physical impairments such as cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injuries, fractures, or other musculoskeletal problems. These impairments may affect the child’s mobility, coordination, and overall physical function. Other consequences may include neurological impairment, cognitive and behavioral challenges, and/or speech and language impairments.

While some birth injuries may be mild and manageable with appropriate medical care and interventions, early detection and intervention is important for mitigating the impacts. Families facing these challenges often benefit from a multidisciplinary approach involving medical professionals, therapists, educators, and support services to address the complex needs of the child and the family.

If your child has been impacted by a birth injury caused by a preventable error, you may be struggling with the emotional and financial weight of the situation. You do not have to navigate this overwhelming time alone; contact an experienced birth injury attorney to discuss your legal rights.

Causes of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can occur for various reasons, and they may result from a combination of factors.

Some birth injuries are caused by negligent care, including:

  • Failure to monitor fetal distress. Inadequate monitoring of fetal distress during labor can lead to delayed recognition of problems, contributing to birth injuries.
  • Inadequate prenatal care. Lack of proper prenatal care and monitoring may lead to undetected health issues in both the mother and the baby.
  • Improper use of medical tools. In some births, doctors use medical tools such as forceps or vacuum extraction. When they are used improperly, the risk of birth injuries increases.
  • Medical negligence. In some cases, birth injuries may result from medical negligence, such as misdiagnosis, errors in medical judgment, or failure to provide appropriate care.

Birth injuries may also occur for a variety of other reasons despite good medical care:

  • Difficult or prolonged labor. If labor is prolonged or difficult, the baby may experience stress and oxygen deprivation. This can lead to complications such as fetal distress and may result in birth injuries.
  • Large birth weight (Macrosomia). Babies with a higher than average birth weight may face a higher risk of birth injuries, especially if the mother has gestational diabetes.
  • Abnormal presentation. The normal presentation for a baby during birth is head-first, stomach down. If the baby presents in a breech (feet or buttocks first) or transverse position (either on their side or back down), it can increase the risk of birth injuries.
  • Premature birth. Premature infants are more susceptible to various health issues, including respiratory distress syndrome and developmental problems.
  • Multiple births. Multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.) can lead to complications during delivery.
  • Maternal health conditions. Certain maternal health conditions, such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or infections, can contribute to an increased risk of birth injuries.
  • Medical interventions. The use of medical interventions, such as forceps or vacuum extraction, during delivery can sometimes result in birth injuries.

It’s important to emphasize that each birth and each birth injury case is unique. The causes of birth injuries can be complex and multifactorial. Most medical professionals aim to provide the best care possible to ensure the health and safety of both the mother and the baby. When birth injuries do occur, thorough investigations are often needed to determine the specific factors contributing to the injury. A birth injury lawyer is crucial to help represent your interests during this phase and through a potential birth injury lawsuit.

The Seattle Personal Injury Lawyers You Want on Your Side

The personal injury attorneys at Tinker Law Firm have been winning birth injury, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases for individuals and their loved ones in Seattle and across Washington State since 1974. We seek justice for injury victims who have been harmed by preventable medical errors, and the negligent or abusive actions of another. Our clients pay no fees or expenses to file a personal injury claim; our firm advances out-of-pocket expenses and is only reimbursed when we recover a settlement on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims in Washington State have a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time from the date of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled and experienced injury attorneys.