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Birth Injury

Birth Injury

What is a birth injury?

Occasionally during the birth process, the baby may suffer a physical injury that is simply the result of being born. This is sometimes called birth trauma or birth injury.

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. An example of this is 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 one of the cranial bones.

  • 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

Reviewed Date: 10-01-2016

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Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.