Birth Injury FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have been told that your child has suffered a birth injury, you may have many questions. Unfortunately, getting answers is not always easy, especially if there are questions involving medical negligence or improper medical care that may have led to your child’s birth injury.

Found below are common questions and answers regarding birth injuries.

What is a Birth Injury?

A birth injury can be any type of harm to a baby that occurs during pregnancy, labor and delivery or shortly after birth. A birth injury can take many other forms, like physical disfigurement due to excessive use of force or severe mental impairment due to a lack of oxygen during delivery. Common birth injuries include bruising from forceps, fractures of the clavicle or collarbone and nerve tearing that causes Erb’s palsy. Some birth injuries can also cause cerebral palsy, a movement disorder caused by damage to areas of the brain that control movement.

Will My Child Get Better?

This depends on what specific injury your child suffered. Some babies who suffer a birth injury eventually recover from their condition, but sometimes the news is not all positive. Some birth injuries can cause permanent damage to a child’s brain, leaving him or her with lifelong mental or physical disabilities. The good news is that all birth injuries can be managed through effective treatments if they cannot be cured completely.

Was My Child’s Injury Preventable?

There are many cases where birth injuries are caused by medical negligence or improper medical care, in which case the injuries may have been preventable. If you believe your child’s injuries could’ve been prevented , you need to speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. By reviewing your case, they can determine if the injury could have been avoided and if you can receive financial aid to help pay for your child’s care.

What is an Intellectual Disability?

An intellectual disability is an impairment of a person’s ability to think, make decisions or communicate. Also known as mental retardation, intellectual disabilities can be caused by a wide range of problems, including preventable birth injuries. Since the term mental retardation carries significant stigma, most professionals prefer the term intellectual disability.

It is important to note that intellectual disabilities are not the same as developmental delays, a term that is used when a diagnosis is not clear in very young children. Some developmental delays can be due to a learning disability or other reasons. Intellectual disabilities are more severe than developmental delays.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) about 10 percent of all children have some sort of learning disability, but only about 3 percent have some form of an intellectual disability.

Intellectual disabilities usually originate during the developmental period (anywhere between conception and age 18). Kids with potential intellectual disabilities are evaluated for their condition based on IQ (intelligence quotient) and adaptive life skills.

Generally, an IQ score of 69 or lower indicates the presence of an intellectual disability.

Causes of Intellectual Disabilities

Some intellectual disabilities are caused by genetic or environmental factors. Unfortunately, there are also many cases caused by birth injuries that were preventable. If you suspect that your child’s intellectual disability was caused by improper or negligent medical care, seek the advice of a legal team to discuss your options.

What is Placental Abruption?

Placental abruption is a serious but rare pregnancy complication. In a placental abruption, the placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery. A placental abruption can be a partial or complete separation.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a placental abruption can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients and cause the mother to experience heavy bleeding.

Often, placental abruption will happen suddenly and without any warning. Most cases of placental abruption happen without any explainable cause.

If it is not treated immediately, the mother and baby can be in danger. Unfortunately, there are cases of doctors misdiagnosing the problem. A misdiagnosis can prevent immediate treatment that can save the baby and mother from serious complications.

Symptoms of a placental abruption include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Increased uterine contractions with no breaks between them
  • Vaginal bleeding

Placental abruption can cause the baby to be delivered early. In severe cases, the baby may be stillborn.

Placental Abruption Causes

According to The March of Dimes, you may be at higher risk for placental abruption if:

  • You smoke cigarettes
  • You use cocaine
  • You are 35 or older
  • You have high blood pressure
  • Your water breaks before 37 weeks
  • You had an abruption in a previous pregnancy
  • You had complications with your uterus such as fibroids
  • You have more fluid around the baby than is normal
  • You are pregnant with twins, triplets or more
  • Your abdomen is harmed from a car accident or physical abuse
Author:Birth Injury Justice Center
Birth Injury Justice Center

The Birth Injury Justice Center was founded in 2003 by a team of legal professionals to educate and empower victims and families affected by birth injuries. Our team is devoted to providing you with the best resources and legal information for all types of birth injuries.

Last modified: December 6, 2018

Call 800-914-1562

Birth injuries are instances of physical harm during childbirth directly caused by medical errors. There are many types of birth injuries, ranging from mild to severe. Birth injuries—may cause irreversible damage. Birth injuries are instances of physical harm during childbirth directly caused by medical errors.

Protect your child’s future after a birth injury.

Complete the form below to receive a free case review from a legal partner.