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Spotting the signs of a birth injury

According to the health information website, every year there are about 28,000 childbirth injury cases in the United States. These occur despite all of the recent advances in medical and, specifically, obstetrical science. Birth injuries can often end up taking a dramatic toll on a child’s life, particularly because they are often so hard to diagnose early on.

In some cases, injuries to newborns are evident immediately after birth. Yet others are not always so easy to detect. Because newborn babies are particularly docile those first few weeks after birth, it’s easy to overlook the signs and symptoms of a birth injury. Thus, parents should be on the lookout for indicators that something is amiss, which can include: 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unusual bruises or swelling on or near the face, head, and/or shoulders
  • Seizures

While most babies will display a lack of coordination, obvious signs of a lack of muscle tone should cause concern. Such a problem is typically manifested by limp or “floppy” limbs, which can indicate possible nerve damage. Parents should also pay close attention to developmental timelines to ensure their babies are growing in accordance with them. Delays in performing tasks such as eye movement, using hands to grab objects, and rolling over could be due to the aftereffects of an undiagnosed birth injury.

Parents who suspect their babies may have sustained injuries during birth should consider sharing their concerns with a doctor or pediatrician. For information on early injury detection, visit our birth injuries page. 

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