Signs of a Birth Injury

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Birth injuries vary in severity and recognizing the signs early can significantly impact management and treatment outcomes.

Physical Symptoms

  • Bruising or Swelling: These marks may be visible on the baby’s head, face, or shoulders, often resulting from pressure during passage through the birth canal or using delivery instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors.
  • Abnormal Body Positioning: If a baby consistently favors one side or shows an unusual posture, it might indicate nerve damage such as brachial plexus injury, which occurs when the nerves supplying the arms and hands are injured.
  • Fractures: Fractures may cause noticeable discomfort, swelling, or unusual limb positioning. They are most commonly observed in the clavicle or arm and occur during challenging deliveries or due to excessive force during birth.

Neurological Issues

  • Seizures: Seizures that occur shortly after birth may be symptomatic of neurological damage due to oxygen deprivation or trauma during delivery. These require immediate medical attention to prevent further complications.
  • Muscle Weakness or Stiffness: This is often localized to one side of the body and can indicate conditions like Erb’s palsy or cerebral palsy, stemming from nerve damage or brain injury.
  • Decreased Muscle Tone: A baby appearing overly floppy or with reduced muscle tone can indicate a neurological disorder or brain damage, potentially caused by lack of oxygen during birth.

Respiratory Problems

  • Difficulty Breathing: Newborns with respiratory issues may struggle to breathe normally, manifesting as rapid breathing, grunting, or requiring oxygen supplementation immediately after birth.
  • Blue Skin Coloration (Cyanosis): A bluish tint to the skin, especially around the lips, hands, and feet, indicates inadequate oxygenation. This could stem from respiratory distress or heart problems.

Feeding Difficulties

  • Difficulty Swallowing or Sucking: These challenges can arise from nerve damage affecting the face or throat, making it hard for the infant to feed effectively, which can impede growth and development.
  • Poor Reflexes: Diminished reflexes, such as a weak or absent sucking reflex, can further complicate feeding and may point to broader neurological concerns.

Developmental Delays

Delays in reaching developmental milestones like rolling over, crawling, walking, or speaking may suggest neurological or muscular issues resulting from birth injuries. These signs might not be immediately evident but become noticeable as the child grows.

Excessive Crying or Irritability

Persistent crying or irritability in a newborn can indicate pain or discomfort from an injury that is not visibly apparent, such as internal organ damage or nerve pain.

Sensory Impairments

Hearing loss or vision problems may result from nerve or brain damage associated with traumatic births. While not always immediately detectable, such impairments might be diagnosed as the child fails to respond to auditory cues or has trouble tracking objects visually.

Get in Touch with Gray and White Today

For any signs of a birth injury, it is crucial to seek evaluation from a healthcare provider, who can diagnose and recommend the best interventions to manage or treat the condition. Early intervention often plays a key role in improving outcomes for affected infants.

If you’ve been affected by medical negligence, whether it caused your child’s birth injury or failed to treat it, contact us today. Call (502) 210-8942 or fill out our online form to request a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.