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The Most Common Types of Birth Injury



The most common types of birth injury

When preparing for pregnancy, birth injuries can be a concern to new mothers. Knowing what the most common birth injuries are and what causes them can help to decrease any worry that you may be feeling and help you to know what to expect if something does go wrong during the birth.

This list compiles the most common types of birth injuries that occur during the birth and how they are caused.

Erbs Palsy

Erbs palsy is a common birth injury that occurs when the upper arm’s group of nerves is damaged. This causes paralysis in the arm as the nerves control movement and feeling in the arm. This can be caused by shoulder dystocia during the birth, which is a common problem that can occur.

The symptoms of Erbs palsy include one arm being weaker than the other, a decreased grip strength, numbness or the arm being bent at the elbow.

If you believe that your child’s injury was due to the medical care that you received during birth, you should contact a birth injury solicitor. Solicitors will be able to help you file a medical negligence claim or complaint to the NHS and aim to get you the recognition and compensation that you deserve.

Caput Succedaneum

Caput Succedaneum is a common injury that is usually caused by a particularly difficult birth or the use of certain delivery equipment. In cases of Caput Succedaneum, symptoms will include the swelling of the scalp and bruising on the head area, which signals damage during the delivery.

Caput Succedaneum can also be caused by membranes rupturing while the baby is still in the womb, and this can occur from 31 weeks. Luckily, this swelling normally goes down quickly, leaving the baby without adverse medical conditions in the future.

Facial Paralysis

Facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy), like Erbs palsy, occurs when pressure is put onto the facial nerve during delivery, and can leave babies with trouble controlling the muscles in their face.

Facial paralysis means that the facial nerve will become inflamed, leaving one side of the face to droop. This can be caused by a long labour, a large baby size, or even some medicines which are used during the birth.


Cephalohematoma is defined as an accumulation of blood under the scalp, which can occur when blood vessels burst in the scalp during a difficult delivery. On average, these symptoms go down within around three months, although some cases will only need a few weeks before the trauma subsides.

Cephalohematoma can be caused by the use of forceps; if you are worried about forceps during birth, the NHS has some recent guidelines which can help to ease your worries.

Subconjunctival haemorrhage

This is a small amount of bleeding on the eye that is caused when tiny blood vessels beneath the eye are broken during delivery. You will see if your infant has a subconjunctival haemorrhage if your baby has a red area on the whites of their eye. This will normally slowly decrease until your baby’s eye returns to normal.

Although birth injuries can be distressing, most injuries are relatively harmless, and their symptoms will disappear over a matter of weeks. However, if your baby does have a long-term injury due to their birth, you should seek a solicitor to advise you on your complaint and any claims that you make.


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