What are the most common birth injuries?

As you go through your pregnancy, you likely have concerns regarding the possibility that your baby will sustain an injury during the birthing process.

Per the Birth Injury Guide, only 3% of American births result in a birth injury to the baby. In addition, the vast majority of these injuries are relatively minor, and, in general, you can expect your baby to recover within a few weeks or months without the need for medical intervention.

Common birth injuries

The following represent some of the most common birth injuries:

  • Forehead bruising caused by the over-enthusiastic use of forceps. These bruises generally fade over a few days or weeks.
  • Fracture of the collarbone caused by a difficult birth. Under most circumstances, the fracture will heal by itself within a few months.
  • Brachial palsy caused by damage to your baby’s nerves that control his or her arm and hand movements. Assuming the nerves only sustained bruising, (s)he should exhibit full hand and arm movement within a few months. If, however, the nerves became torn during birth, the neurological damage may be permanent.
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage caused by broken blood vessels in your baby’s eyes. These red spots usually go away within a week to 10 days.
  • Caput succedaneum, a/k/a internal bleeding within your baby’s skull, caused by a difficult delivery. Again, this generally resolves itself within 14-21 days.

Regardless of the fact that you need not overly concern yourself with these common birth injuries, you nevertheless should seek guidance from your baby’s pediatrician if you have any questions or if your baby does not seem to be progressing as you think (s)he should.