Around 10% of births in the United States require additional medical intervention for the safety of both the mother and the infant. We put our trust in our medical providers to do this safely; however, that is not always the case, and around 28.000 birth injuries occur every year. Many of these result from negligence, malpractice, or a poor standard of care. Birth injuries range from bruising and lacerations to more severe, lifelong conditions and injuries.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of birth injuries that occur in the United States.

Cerebral Palsy

In every 1000 births, it is estimated that between 2 and 3 infants will be born with Cerebral Palsy. This is a lifelong condition that is characterized by weak muscles, muscle spasms, and a lack of development of fine motor skills. In a large number of cases, cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage that occurs during birth because of improper monitoring of the mom during labor, failure to monitor fetal distress, and inadequate birth techniques. There is no cure for Cerebral Palsy, and it will require a lifetime of therapies. It can also lead to related issues, including visual or hearing impairments, learning disabilities, and speech problems. If your child is born with Cerebral Palsy, you may want to work with a birth injury lawyer in Knoxville to determine if you could be due compensation to help with your child’s ongoing medical needs.

Facial Paralysis

Sometimes there may be too much pressure applied to a baby’s face during delivery, which can damage the facial nerves. Facial Paralysis is common where forceps or vacuum extraction is used to help pull the baby from the birth canal. Depending on the severity of the nerve damage, the child may not be able to move the affected side of the face, including being unable to open and close their eye. Paralysis may resolve itself after a few weeks if the nerve damage is only bruising. However, if it is torn, surgical intervention may be required.

Oxygen Deprivation

If oxygen deprivation occurs during birth, it can lead to brain injuries for the infant. Some of the common consequences of this include Cerebal Palsy, which we discussed above, and chronic seizures. Even mild oxygen deprivation can have lasting effects such as physical and intellectual disabilities. The doctor should be monitoring an infant during and immediately after delivery to make sure they are not deprived of oxygen. One of the common causes is the baby being left in the birth canal for too long without any intervention. This could definitely be grounds for a lawsuit, and you should consult with a birth injury lawyer in Knoxville sooner rather than later.


Cephalohematoma is a common birth injury involving bleeding underneath a cranial bone. It can result from using forceps, but there are other causes. It often appears as a raised bump a few hours following the birth. In most cases, a Cephalohematoma will clear up in a couple of months, but on some occasions, it can bring with it additional health concerns, including meningitis, jaundice, hypotension, and anemia. You may wish to talk to a birth injury lawyer in Knoxville, where these complications are present.

Brachial Palsy

Brachial Palsy occurs when the nerve bundle (Brachial Plexus) supplying the arms and hands gets injured during delivery. It often happens if the baby’s shoulder gets stuck coming out of the birth canal. The infant will lose its ability to flex and rotate the arm. If the injury results in bruising and inflammation of the Brachial Plexus, movement will usually return in a few months once this dissipates. However, if the nerves are torn, it can result in permanent nerve damage, and physical therapy may be required to help maintain a range of motion in the arm.


Another common type of birth injury would be fractures of various kinds. The most common are clavicle or collarbone fractures which can break if there is difficulty delivering the baby or if the delivery is breech. Healing occurs fairly quickly in newborns as infants will not usually move the injured limb too much. However, if there is pain, it can be helpful to use soft bandages or a splint to immobilize the limb. It is rare for any lasting damage to occur from these fractures.

Bruising & Lacerations

It is very common for babies to be born with bruising or lacerations on the face and head. Although it can be upsetting to see, this can naturally occur as the infant passes through the birth canal and possibly makes contact with the mother’s pelvis. These bruises and lacerations may be more pronounced if forceps or vacuum extraction are used during delivery. These will heal in a few weeks and would not normally warrant a consultation with a birth injury lawyer in Knoxville unless more extensive damage such as the Facial Paralysis discussed above occurs due to negligence or malpractice.

If you are a parent of a child who has suffered a birth injury, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Arrange a free consultation with a birth injury lawyer in Knoxville to discuss your case.



Butler, Vines and Babb is a leading law firm in Knoxville, TN, with extensive litigation experience in Medical Malpractice LawBirth Injury LawTrucking Accident LawPersonal Injury Law, and Business Law. Contact us today at or call 865-637-3531.

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