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Misfortune or mistake? Recognizing a birth injury

Birth InjuryNews   April 30, 2018

Childbirth is an admittedly difficult process for most women — and it’s easy for a tiny baby to end up injured. How do you tell the difference between simple bruises from the birth and a serious injury?

Here are some of the most common symptoms an infant with birth injuries can have:

Weakness in one or more limbs or facial paralysis

Weakness and limpness in the limbs are very worrisome. In the arms, they can be symptoms of Erb’s palsy. If the baby is having a hard time moving his or her legs, it could be a sign of spinal cord damage. Either could be signs of cerebral palsy. Facial paralysis can be the result of nerve damages after the negligent use of forceps.

Problems feeding

Some newborns have trouble latching on when a mother’s nursing, but a serious problem swallowing or sucking can be signs of cerebral palsy or another brain injury.


Seizures should be an immediate cause for concern and they indicate a need for a brain scan. Bleeding in the brain, which can result from the use of forceps, can be the direct cause of seizures.

Unusual crying

All babies cry, and it’s normal. But an unusually high-pitched cry or wail that doesn’t stop is the sign of trouble. If the baby keeps arching his or her back, that’s often a sign of real pain and could indicate a birth injury.

As your baby ages, be on the lookout for additional signs of birth trauma. By the time your baby is six months old, he or she should:

  • Be able to hold up his or her head
  • Roll over
  • Put hands to mouth
  • Focus his or her eyes on faces
  • Turn his or her head to interesting sounds
  • Grab onto fingers and small toys

If your baby shows any signs of significant pain or other problems, bring it to a doctor’s attention and don’t settle for reassurances. Insist on testing to see if there’s an underlying birth injury. The sooner an injury is addressed, the better it is for your baby.

Source:, “WARNING SIGNS OF A BIRTH INJURY,” accessed April 20, 2018