Infant Investigation: What Is the Most Common Type of Birth Injury?

In the U.S., about 28,000 babies per year are born with a birth injury. There are some common birth injuries that occur due to the size of the baby or the mother.

Are you wondering what the most common type of birth injury is? Keep reading to learn more about different types of birth injuries and find out how they occur.

What Is a Birth Injury?

Birth injury, or birth trauma, is when an infant suffers an injury during the birthing process.

Sometimes the injury is only an inadvertent result of being born under imperfect circumstances. An example is a large baby having trouble passing through a small birth canal.

Some birth injuries result from a doctor’s negligence or inexperience. Facial paralysis from improper use of forceps is one such example.

What Is the Most Common Type of Birth Injury?

There are several types of common birth injuries. We’ll discuss a few of them here.

Shoulder Dystocia

Sometimes a baby’s shoulders get stuck going through the birth canal. This is referred to as shoulder dystocia, which is a birth trauma that can result in several injuries.

One injury sometimes resulting from shoulder dystocia is brachial palsy. This is when dystocia causes injury to the nerves that supply the arms and hands. If this happens, the baby can’t flex or rotate the arm.

Most cases resolve in a few months, but some cause permanent injury.

Birth Asphyxia

Birth asphyxia happens when the baby doesn’t get enough oxygen to the brain. This happens for many reasons, including not enough oxygen in the mother’s blood during birth.

If birth is long and difficult, or if there are problems with the umbilical cord, it can result in birth asphyxia. The severity of the injury depends on how long the baby is without oxygen.

Asphyxia can sometimes be reversed if treatment begins immediately. Other times, a child is left with cerebral palsy, seizures, or other disorders.

Birth asphyxia is sometimes the result of negligence on the part of the doctor. If you suspect a negligent doctor, seek a personal injury attorney, such as one found at


A difficult birth sometimes leads to a fractured collarbone, which is the most common fracture during birth. This can happen if a baby has shoulder dystocia or is in the breech position.

A fractured bone heals quickly in an infant. There’s usually no reason for a splint or bandage.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

This is a fancy way of saying bleeding due to breaking of the small blood vessels of the eyes. This is a common birth injury that heals on its own in about 10 days. If you see a bright-red band in the white of the infant’s eye or eyes, it’s a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

There Are Many Types of Birth Injuries

What is the most common type of birth injury? These are a few but there are many common types of birth injuries.

Most birth injuries are temporary and treatable. Unfortunately, in some cases, a birth injury leaves a permanent disability. If you’re considering pregnancy, consult with a doctor to learn what you can do to get the best outcome for your baby.

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