Is There a Difference Between a Birth Injury and a Birth Defect?


When a baby is brought into this world, sometimes complications arise that lead to them suffering from a birth defect or an injury. A baby suffers from a birth defect during the time they are in the mother’s womb while a birth injury typically occurs right before or after the child is born. To help you better understand the difference between the two, below is a detailed explanation of what a birth injury is and what a birth defect is.


Birth injuries

While some babies are born without suffering a physical injury, others unfortunately do. A birth injury can be attributed to several different things including:


  • The size of the baby. A baby with a birth weight of 8 pounds, 13 ounces or more is considered to be a large baby. A baby that is born prematurely, which means they deliver before 37 weeks, has a much more fragile body which makes them more susceptible to suffering an injury.


  • Cephalopelvic disproportion. This refers to the size and shape of the mother’s pelvis. If this is not adequate for the baby to be vaginally born, it can lead to the baby being injured as the doctor attempts to birth the baby.


  • Dystocia. This means the childbirth was difficult as some generally are.


  • Prolonged labor


  • Abnormal birthing presentation. If the baby was born breech, which means their buttocks came first, it could potentially lead to them suffering an injury.


[Source: Stanford Children’s Health].


While some of these injuries can be avoided, others occur from natural causes. The injuries that can be avoided often arise because a doctor wasn’t careful in how they delivered the baby. In other cases, the physician may not have taken the time to consider the following conditions mentioned above that would have helped them to change the delivery process to reduce the chances of the newborn being injured.


Boston birth injury attorneys

While some babies are born with injuries brought on by natural causes, others are the result of a physician’s carelessness.

If your baby was injured during the delivery process, consider contacting a Boston birth injury attorney immediately to learn how you can hold the hospital or doctor accountable for their negligence.


Some common birth injuries that can occur during and after a child is born include:

  • Brachial palsy
  • Brain damage
  • Bruising or forceps marks
  • Fractures
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage
  • Cephalohematoma
  • Facial paralysis


What is a birth defect?


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “birth defects are structural changes present at birth that can affect almost any part or parts of the body such as the heart, brain, or foot. Birth defects are common, costly, and critical conditions that affect one in 33 babies born in the U.S.” Although a doctor can be held responsible for causing a newborn to suffer from a defect, most cases stem from something that occurred naturally inside the womb or because of how the mother cared for her body during pregnancy.

To read about ways to help reduce the chances of your child being born with a defect, visit the CDC website.


Now, if you have a baby that was born with an injury or defect that you believe was caused by a healthcare professional, let find you a local birth injury lawyer in Boston who can help you. Being a first-time parent or even birthing your second or third child is already a lot to take in, but learning that your newborn is suffering from a condition they shouldn’t be only makes this time harder on you.