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Birth Injury

What is a birth injury?

Occasionally during the birth process, the baby may suffer a birth injury. This is due to an unfavorable event that occurred during birth. This may also be called birth trauma. A birth injury or birth trauma refers to a wide range of injuries that affect the baby's body function or structure. The injuries can be mild to severe. They can result in significant damage or even be life-threatening.

What causes birth injury?

Birth injuries are more common when:

  • The baby is large

  • The baby is not head-first in the birth canal

  • The baby is born prematurely, or too early

  • The size or shape of the mother's pelvis or birth canal makes it difficult for a normal vaginal birth

  • Labor is difficult or very long, such as when contractions aren't strong enough to move the baby through the birth¬†canal

  • The mother is very overweight

  • There is a cesarean delivery

  • Devices, like vacuum or forceps, are used to deliver the baby

What are some of the more common birth injuries?

The following are common birth injuries:

  • Swelling or bruising of the head

  • Bleeding underneath a cranial bone

  • Breakage of small blood vessels in the eyes of a baby

  • Facial nerve injury caused by pressure on the baby's face

  • Injury to the group of nerves that supplies the arms and hands¬†

  • Fracture of the clavicle or collarbone