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3 preventable birth injuries that can result in lifelong effects

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Birth injury

It is the duty of every obstetrician to minimize the risk of injury to both mother and child during delivery. However, birth injuries do sometimes happen due to negligence and lack of proper medical care.

While most birth injuries heal on their own or with minimal management, some birth injuries result in lifelong challenges and disabilities, profoundly impacting affected individuals and their families. The following are three examples of birth injuries that can result in lifelong effects.


Babies could suffer fractures, including to the skull and clavicle due to negligence during birth. These injuries may occur as a result of the baby getting pushed too quickly through the birth canal or because of the improper handling of delivery tools such as forceps or vacuum extractors. Proper monitoring of the birthing process and appropriate techniques can significantly reduce the risk of such fractures.


If a baby experiences hypoxia during birth, it can lead to serious and potentially lifelong consequences for the infant. This condition occurs when the baby’s brain does not receive an adequate supply of oxygen, often due to issues such as umbilical cord compression, placental abruption or prolonged labor. Without prompt intervention, hypoxia can result in permanent brain damage, developmental delays, cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.

Brachial plexus injuries

Injuries such as Erb’s palsy can be caused by damage to the brachial plexus nerves. This often occurs when excessive force is applied to the baby’s shoulder or neck during delivery, leading to stretching or tearing of the nerves. The improper use of forceps or excessive traction during a difficult delivery can contribute to these injuries. Brachial plexus injuries can result in weakness, paralysis and loss of sensation in the affected arm, significantly impacting the child’s motor function and quality of life.

When a birth injury is caused by negligence, affected individuals and their families may be entitled to seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to learn more.