What Causes Brain Damage at Birth?

May 11, 2022

There are a variety of ways that an infant can sustain brain damage at birth. In some cases, the causes of brain damage at birth are natural and no one’s fault. However, there are times when brain damage is caused by the careless or negligent actions of medical professionals during the delivery process. Here, we want to examine some of the most common causes of brain damage during the labor and delivery process.

How Brain Damage Occurs in Newborns

Brain damage is defined as what happens when the cells in the brain are destroyed or damaged. Brain damage can occur in a wide variety of ways, including in newborns. Some of the most common causes of newborn brain damage include:

  • Problems with the umbilical cord. Oxygen is supplied to a baby in the womb through the umbilical cord. Until a baby is actually born and breathing on its own, the umbilical cord is absolutely essential for the survival of the child. Several complications can occur, including the umbilical cord becoming twisted or compressed during gestation or labor.
  • Birth canal delays. During a vaginal delivery, it is not uncommon for a baby to become stuck while passing through the birth canal. This can occur when the child’s head is too large for the birth canal or if they are at an odd angle when exiting (breach birth).
  • Placental separation. Any issue involving the placenta can lead to oxygen deprivation for a child. This can include the placental tearing away from the uterus before delivery, known as placental abruption.
  • Delivery trauma. There are various ways that hey baby can sustain trauma during the delivery process. This can include the excessive force applied while trying to help the baby through the birth canal. Additionally, the inappropriate use of birth assistance tools, including vacuum extractors and forceps, can lead to trauma and brain injuries in a child.
  • Maternal infection. If a mother has any type of infection during the pregnancy that goes undiagnosed or improperly treated, this infection could interfere with the delivery of oxygen to the child.

In some cases, children are able to make a complete recovery if they sustain mild brain damage at birth. However, more severe brain injuries can lead to lifelong disabilities that require extensive medical treatment. Significant newborn brain damage can lead to major medical issues, including cerebral palsy.

Working With an Attorney

If your child has sustained a brain injury during pregnancy, during the delivery process, or shortly after birth, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled Martinsburg birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. It may be possible that your child’s brain injury was caused by the careless or negligent actions of a medical provider.

Medical malpractice claims are challenging, and you need a skilled attorney by your side to handle every aspect of the process. A medical malpractice lawyer will enlist assistance from trusted medical experts who can evaluate the totality of your claim and determine the best steps moving forward. You may be entitled to a range of compensation to help cover you are medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and more. Child brain injuries can lead to lifelong expenses, and you deserve compensation if someone made a mistake.


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