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Types of Birth Injuries

Written by Berkowitz

Birth injuries take many forms. Sometimes they can be minor and temporary; other times they may have permanent effects that impact the child and their parents for the rest of their lives. Depending on the infant, the symptoms of an injury can vary – while one child may exhibit minor symptoms and the other more obvious problems. In some cases, parents and children are unaware an injury even occurred until their child is older and enrolled in school.

As a parent, it is important that you understand the more common types of birth injuries and their respective symptoms so that you can properly identify them and get your child the treatment they need.

Brain Injuries

Brain injuries can occur in several different ways and may not always present themselves immediately after the injury has occurred. More commonly, brain injuries develop due to a lack of oxygen. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (IHE) is a type of brain injury that occurs when the brain is starved from oxygen.

When a brain is deprived of oxygen, it can have several types of results. Sometimes a brain can develop a hemorrhage, while other times the brain can react with electrical responses – such as seizure or cerebral palsy. Also, brain injuries can happen from other types of birth injuries, including jaundice that is left untreated or the development of a group B strep infection which results in meningitis.

One of the most leading brain injuries seen in the United States is cerebral palsy (CP). This impacts about 800,000 children and can develop after oxygen deprivation, a stroke, or an infection. In some cases, the CP risk could have been eliminated entirely with corrective preventive measures taken by the treating physician. For example, a physician fails to monitor fetal distress, which results in the infant’s development of CP. Some other instances where CP can develop include:

  • Failure to detect or treat maternal infections
  • Failure to plan or carry out a needed C-section during delivery
  • Failure to identify a prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Failure to use the right type of birth-assisting device when needed or using it correctly

Muscle and Physical Injuries

Muscle related injuries are easier to diagnose than brain injuries and often have more blatant symptoms. Some can include lacerations, broken bones or bruises, but at other times can also include skull fractures. Some common muscle-related and physical injuries include:

  • Brachial plexus
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Klumpke’s palsy


In some cases, an injury can be passed on by the mother, such as an infection. But, just because the mother passed on such infection does not mean that she is to blame. When a physician fails to diagnose and/or treat that condition properly, it becomes the responsibility of that treating physician for any injuries that are the result of that infection. There are also certain conditions or infections that physicians are required to test for as part of their standard prenatal treatment – and failure to do so means that they acted negligently.

Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no obligation case evaluation. Call today or contact us online to get started.