What is the difference between a birth injury and birth defect?

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2020 | Birth Injuries |

Childbirth is a special, life-changing experience that every mom-to-be looks forward to. But this experience can quickly turn traumatic when a birth injury or birth defect is involved.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seven out of 1,000 babies born in the U.S. experience a birth injury. The CDC also reports that one in 33 babies is born with a birth defect. Both birth injuries and defects can be the result of unavoidable circumstances – but they can also be the consequence of medical negligence.

What is a birth injury?

A birth injury is an injury typically sustained during delivery, or shortly before or after. Some common birth injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Erb’s Palsy
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
  • Preeclampsia

Birth injuries are usually preventable. They may happen due to your doctor’s failure to assess and respond to complications or certain situations during delivery. They might also occur due to your baby’s placement during delivery.

What is a birth defect?

Unlike birth injuries, birth defects originate when your baby is in your womb. Defects may manifest at birth and affect your baby’s brain or nervous system. A few common birth defects include:

  • Cleft palate
  • Heart defects
  • Down syndrome
  • Spina bifida

Oftentimes, genetic mutations cause birth defects. Other times, exposure to certain toxins, drugs or medications causes birth defects. In those cases, doctors or nurses who administered the drugs may be liable.

There are many reasons that a birth injury or defect may happen. And while they are sometimes unavoidable, they might also occur due to a physician’s failure to provide proper care.

If you suspect your baby’s birth defect or injury was the result of medical negligence, you should consider contacting an experienced attorney. Nobody deserves the suffer the emotional, physical and financial repercussions that a birth defect or injury may cause. A medical malpractice lawyer can help.


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