Birth Injury:

Resulting Problems

Aside from Cerebral Palsy and Erbs Palsy, which are common problems that can result during complications at birth, other common resulting problems include:

Caput succedaneum
Caput is a swelling of the soft tissues of the baby's scalp that occurs as the baby moves through the birth canal and can result in bruising. This usually disappears within a week with no additional complications. It is most common in babies delivered by vacuum extraction.

Cephalohematoma
Cephalohematoma is an area of bleeding between the scalp and its fibrous covering. Occurring within a few hours of birth, as a raised lump, they usually disappear in less than a month and the baby reabsorbs the blood. Jaundice may develop if the bleeding area is large enough.

Forceps marks or bruising
Cuts, bruises, or marks may result from injury due to forceps, or simply from the pressure of the birth canal or the mother’s pelvis. Vacuum extraction can also cause bruising or cuts on the head.

Subconjunctival hemorrhage
Subconjunctival hemorrhage is when the blood vessels around a babies eyes break. It is not serious, and the bright red bands that appear around the iris typically disappear in less than two weeks.

Facial paralysis
The pressure of birth or use of forceps, on a child’s face, may bruise or tear facial nerves. The effects of this are most often realized when the baby cries and part of the face does not move, or the eye cannot close. A bruised nerve usually recovers within a few weeks, while a torn nerve may require surgery.

Fractures
The most common bone to break during birth is the clavicle, or collarbone. This can be seen because the arm on the side of the break is rarely moved. Bones heal quickly in infants, though limiting of the movement or use of a splint may aid recovery.

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