What are birth injuries?

A birth injury is harm caused to a fetus or newborn baby during pregnancy, labour, delivery or in the period shortly after birth. Most birth injuries are related to a disruption in blood flow to the fetal brain, although other forms of trauma also occur at or around the time of birth. If severe enough, the impaired flow of oxygen can cause permanent injury resulting in a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy.

Unfortunately, Cerebral Palsy is a permanent injury to the brain that often results in severe motor dysfunction, cognitive impairment and developmental delays. It can also affect vision and hearing and can often cause seizures. Cerebral Palsy resulting from birth trauma will have a dramatic impact on many aspects of a person's life. They will have need for care, therapies and/or surgical interventions, often for life.

Other common birth injuries include:

  • Shoulder dystocia;
  • Fetal and neonatal stroke;
  • Kernicterus;
  • Meconium aspiration syndrome;
  • Negligent resuscitation of a newborn;
  • Trauma from extraction tools.