Resource Guide: View All

Birth Injury Overview
Cerebral Palsy
Klumpke's Palsy
Infant Asphyxia
Child Brain Injuries
Erb's Palsy
Brachial Plexus
Infant Shoulder Dystocia
Skull Fracture

Cerebral Palsy and Birth Injury

Cerebral palsy is the most common type of physical disability in childhood.  It affects just over 2 children in 1,000 live births.  While a number of factors may contribute to Cerebral palsy, difficulties during very late pregnancy, during birth, or shortly after birth are all known as “birth injury” and are major cause of the disorder.

About Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral = brain, Palsy = lack of muscle control

Cerebral palsy (CP) is one of a group of permanent movement disorders and are cause by the brain’s inability to control the muscles.  The symptoms appear at infancy or in early childhood and symptoms may vary in severity.

Infants with CP may not roll over, sit, crawl or walk as soon as other infants.  CP may also affect vision, hearing, and other symptoms and may make it difficult for a child to swallow and eat.  Other symptoms include stiff muscles, weak muscles, tremors, and may be as severe as to cause seizures.

Children may also have poor coordination, difficulty speaking and poor cognition (thinking and reasoning).  Though the symptoms may be apparent in early infancy, they may continue to become more obvious and pronounced as the child ages.

As the child grows, symptoms will not go away and may include:

  • Poor muscle control, tone, and reflex
  • Inability to control body movements, posture, balance
  • Inability to control body functions such as eating, urination and defecation
  • Impairments of vision, hearing, speech, learning and intellectual development
  • Frequent seizures
  • Some children may be confined to a wheelchair or may be bed-bound and require invalid-type care.

Birth injury is a major cause of Cerebral palsy

Birth Injuries Vs Birth Defects

Confusion between birth defect and birth injury is common but they are two different problems.

Birth defect – occurs during pregnancy.  It is caused genetics due to faulty DNA or exposure to environmental toxins or drugs – including some prescription medications.  Birth defects will are not a result of lack of care during the birth process or poor health of the mother.  Birth defects can be considered inevitable, unavoidable events.

Birth injury – caused before, during or immediately after a child is born.  It is usually an avoidable injury and not something that is inevitable.  Many birth injuries are a result of a lack of or inappropriate medical intervention.

Be Informed:


Birth Injury Causes

The leading causes of birth injury include:

  • Failure to detect fetal distress
  • Medications being administered inappropriately or inaccurately
  • Birth-assisting tools used improperly
  • Problems with the umbilical cord
  • A delay in performing a cesarean section
  • Misdiagnosis

A birth injury may be a temporary medical concern (such as a broken bone or laceration) but it may be permanent (such as brain damage or CP).  Birth injuries occur in infants who would have been otherwise healthy.  These infants were healthy in the womb and should have arrived in the world as healthy infants.

Sadly, because these infants have been injured during the birth process, they may face a lifetime of disability and a need for extensive medical care.

Birth injuries caused by lack of or improper medical action can leave the parents with significant financial burden and severe emotional strain.  Whether it is Cerebral palsy or another injury that occurs before, during or shortly after birth, parents of a child who is a victim of an injury caused by improper medical intervention have the right to file a birth injury lawsuit.

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