In the United States, approximately 27,000 babies will suffer an injury immediately before, during, or after delivery. There are roughly four-million children born in the U.S. each year. Although a baby’s risk of injury is relatively low at well under 1%, some families will be affected by common injuries like cerebral palsy, asphyxia, Erb’s palsy, and other injuries.
It’s natural to be worried that your newborn will be hurt, but if it happens your baby may still be fine. Some birth injuries will clear up on their own with little to no treatment. Others may improve with therapy or medications. In a smaller number of cases, the child will be permanently disabled.
In the most serious cases of birth injury, the child may end up requiring years of costly treatments and special education. They may also have limited options for employment as adults, leaving them dependent on their caretakers.
If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit, read the following BirthInjuryLawyer FAQs to learn more about the process. Keep scrolling to learn more about the causes of birth injuries and how many babies are affected.
Birth Injury Statistics
The following five conditions are some of the most common birth injuries. Learning more about how often these conditions affect babies can help you keep your child’s level of risk in perspective.
The rate of cerebral palsy, which is also known as CP, is approximately 2.3 to 3.6 per 1,000 live births. There are approximately 764,000 children and adults living with the condition in the U.S. CP is a term that is used to describe a group of conditions that are related to illness, damage, or injury that affects a fetus’s delicate brain. This damage affects motor skills, muscle strength, and coordination.
Erb’s palsy happens when a newborn suffers damage to their brachial plexus. It occurs in approximately two to five of every 1,000 births. This condition may go away on its own during the baby’s first nine months of life, but in a smaller number of children, the damage will be permanent. If your baby is holding their arm in an abnormal position or the arm seems to be paralyzed, it could be Erb’s palsy.
Approximately 0.4% to 2.9% of all newborns will be born with a clavicle, or collarbone, fracture. That is roughly 16,000 to 116,000 babies. As many as 40% of clavicle fractures may not be detected in the hospital. If your baby is fussy when you lift it under the arms or when it lifts one of its arms, an undetected clavicle fracture may be the problem.
In developed countries, approximately two of every 1,000 babies born will have their oxygen supply cut off during labor and delivery. When this happens, it is known as perinatal asphyxia. Babies who have lost their oxygen supply may develop a condition called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, which is a cause of seizure disorders and cerebral palsy.
This common birth injury causes bleeding inside a newborn’s cranium, and it affects 1% to 2% of all infants. That is roughly 40,000 to 80,000 babies each year. A cephalohematoma will appear as a raised bump on your baby’s head. This injury can lead to the baby developing other issues, including anemia and jaundice.
What to Do If Your Baby Is Injured
If you suspect your baby has suffered one of these common birth injuries, it is important to have them evaluated by a pediatrician as quickly as possible. Your doctor may refer you to pediatric specialists who will prescribe a course of treatment that is designed for your child’s unique needs.