6 Common Types of Birth Trauma

a father holding his infant childThe birthing process does not always go smoothly. However, we rely on medical professionals’ training and experience to mitigate difficult situations. One such situation is birth trauma. Birth trauma is a general term used to describe cuts, fractures, or other injuries that occur during labor and delivery.

Below, our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys discuss six common types of birth trauma.

Caput Succedaneum

Caput succedaneum is a condition characterized by scalp swelling during or shortly after birth. It’s typically caused by the pressure the mother’s uterus exerts on a child’s head during the birthing process. Such pressure and bruising are more likely to occur during long and difficult labors.

This condition can also occur when medical professionals use birth assistance tools, such as a vacuum extraction device, improperly.


Cephalohematoma is marked by an accumulation of blood below a baby’s scalp. It often shows up several hours after the baby is born. When left untreated, some cephalohematomas can develop into jaundice.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

Subconjunctival hemorrhage is bleeding that occurs when the blood vessels in a baby’s eyes break. This condition is usually temporary, and the blood will typically disappear as the baby’s body reabsorbs it.

Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s palsy occurs when a baby’s facial nerves are damaged during delivery. While this often occurs when the child passes through the mother’s birth canal, it can also happen when a medical professional uses forceps improperly.

While this condition may resolve on its own in mild cases, surgery may be required in more severe cases.

Brachial Plexus Injury

Severe damage to a baby’s brachial plexus nerves may occur when a medical professional pulls or twists on an infant too hard during the labor and delivery process. While some cases of brachial plexus injuries may resolve on their own, others may result in permanent nerve damage.

Clavicle Injury

A clavicle or collarbone fracture is the most common fracture during the birthing process. Such a fracture may occur when there is trouble delivering the baby's shoulder through the mother’s birth canal or during a breech delivery. While an injured baby often cannot move the arm on the affected side after the birth, this condition will usually heal over a few weeks with the application of a soft bandage or splint.

If you or your child suffered birth trauma during the delivery process, The Beasley Firm, LLC is here to help. We have a proven track record of helping clients just like you and we have recovered several record-breaking verdicts.