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Identifying Signs of Birth Injuries: A Guide for All Parents

Identifying Signs of Birth Injuries

Every parent wants a healthy baby when they leave the hospital with their newborn. While this is the case for most parents, there are some unfortunate cases where parents face a different reality. Birth injuries can occur and range from severe and easily detectable to milder and more difficult to diagnose or identify.

Early interventions are crucial for minimizing the injury’s effects and giving your child the best chance at a normal life if they suffer a birth injury. New parents must learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of common birth injuries so they can take their child to the doctor for these interventions and proper treatment.

Nerve Injury Symptoms

Unfortunately, nerve injuries remain one of the most common types of birth injuries. The most common of these injuries occur when the brachial plexus nerve, which controls the movements of and sensations in the arms, is damaged during birth.

General birth paralysis can also happen and affect different parts of the body and muscle groups.

These types of injuries happen as the baby passes through the birth canal, or if the medical professional handling the delivery pulls the baby too hard. They typically happen in babies in the breech position when labor starts or in those with a higher-than-average birth weight.

The main sign of a nerve injury is the inability to move a body part, reduced movements, and loss of sensation. Babies may also have a weaker grip in one arm or hold one arm against the side of the body.

These types of injuries can cause paralysis, which becomes a life-long issue. Parents can contact a birth paralysis attorney if they suspect medical negligence or malpractice to be the cause of the birth injury.

Cerebral Palsy Symptoms

Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage due to a lack of oxygen (oxygen deprivation) to the baby’s brain during birth. Most cerebral palsy symptoms are easy to identify immediately after birth.

These include unusual stiffness or floppiness, stiff legs that cross, scissoring leg movements, and the baby’s head flopping to the back or side.

Some symptoms can manifest as the child ages, including awkward movements, difficulty walking, stiffness, and spastic movements in severe cases.

Some children also experience hearing and vision loss, have cognitive impairments and difficulties, writhing, developmental disabilities, and trouble with coordination and balance.

Brain Damage

In addition to cerebral palsy, many other brain injuries can occur during birth. These have specific symptoms, but the symptoms often overlap.

The most noticeable symptoms include a prominent forehead, a small head, and an unusually shaped skull. Some babies might also have malformed spinal columns, stiff neck, and distorted facial features.

Other babies might also have general discomfort or fussiness that is not typical for their age, unusual eye movements, and seizures.

The brain damage symptoms that appear as the child grows are the same as those for cerebral palsy.


It is an unfortunate reality that birth injuries occur during birth. Every parent should know to recognize that something is not right with their baby so they can have a medical professional do a complete checkup. Parents are also entitled to compensation if the birth injury is due to medical negligence and malpractice, and a birth paralysis or injury attorney can help them get the justice they deserve.

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