Birth Injury Symptoms in Infants

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Birth injury symptoms in infants may include signs of trauma, unusual behaviors, or difficulty doing typical things like feeding. Recognizing the symptoms can help you seek timely and appropriate medical attention for your child.

Remember, these symptoms of infant birth injuries are not a complete list. Just like there are a variety of birth injuries, symptoms vary. If you see warning signs or unusual behavior, consider that they may have suffered a birth injury and seek prompt medical attention.

At Bobby Jones Law, our experienced Greenville birth injury lawyer can evaluate your case and explain your legal options upon discovering harm to an infant.

Symptoms of Birth Injury in Infants

Some signs and symptoms of birth injury in infants include:

Cuts, bruises and swelling

The use of instruments to facilitate birth, like forceps and vacuum extraction, may cause bruising or lacerations. Swelling of the child’s scalp may also be a sign of injury, usually from vacuum extraction. Swelling may be a sign of cephalohematoma, which can cause complications like anemia, calcifications affecting skull formation, and infection. A scalpel used for a C-section may also cause lacerations.

Weak, limp, or floppy appearance

Weakness in the arm, wrist, or hand may indicate nerve damage. Brachial palsy (Erb’s palsy) is a nerve injury that may occur when the child’s shoulder gets stuck during delivery. An infant that is large may be especially at risk. Bruising and swelling of the nerves may occur, and there is a risk of permanent damage from tearing. Cerebral palsy may occur because of brain injury or a lack of oxygen.

Not breathing at birth

If a child does not receive enough oxygen during childbirth, they may suffer from birth asphyxia. The mother having low oxygen levels can cause harm to the child. Medical professionals should monitor the mother and child during birth and respond as needed.

In addition to not breathing, unusual skin color and low heart rate may be signs of birth asphyxia.


Seizures are another birth injury symptom that may indicate oxygen deprivation. They may also result from brain trauma from the use of instruments during birth. Seizures are abnormal electrical brain activity. Symptoms of a seizure may include convulsions, altered consciousness, unusual eye movements, protruding tongue, unusual muscle movements, and breathing abnormalities.

High-pitched crying, difficulty feeding

High-pitched crying or excessive crying may indicate that a newborn is in pain. It may mean a neurological injury. Trouble feeding may indicate injury to the head or neck.

Deformity, lack of limb use

Visible deformity and failing to use a limb are symptoms of a broken bone. A breech delivery or the child’s shoulder being stuck can result in a break. The child may not move the arm on the side of the break because of pain.

The most common bone to break during childbirth is the clavicle. The humerus is the second-most common broken bone, and the femur and skull are also at risk of fracture.

There have also been instances of orbital fracture and dislocation.

Involuntary movements, balance, and coordination problems

Tremors and involuntary muscle spasms may indicate brain damage. Unusual posture, balance problems, stiffness, or loss of fine motor skills are additional warning signs.

Cognitive and behavioral abnormalities may begin to show as the child grows up.

Immediate and Delayed Symptoms of Birth Injury

Some birth injuries show right away. You immediately notice if your child has visible bruising.

They may have needed to be resuscitated at birth. However, there are birth injuries that may take months and even years to appear.

Delayed symptoms include failing to meet typical milestones. A lack of speech development or delayed crawling or walking are examples. At 12 months, 24 months, and even beyond two years old, developmental delays and disabilities may be a sign that an injury occurred during childbirth.

Even if signs and symptoms of birth injury are delayed, it may be possible to receive compensation.

There are time limits to bringing a case. Don’t wait to contact Bobby Jones Law as soon as possible. We can work quickly on your child’s claim.

What To Do If You Suspect a Birth Injury in an Infant

If you suspect a birth injury in an infant:

  • Seek immediate medical care: The appropriate care depends on the symptoms and their severity
  • Continue to monitor the child: For changing and worsening symptoms
  • Document your observations: To help investigate what occurred and why
  • Keep records of medical care and paperwork: Records may be helpful to your case
  • Investigate the underlying cause: Your child may have a claim for medical malpractice

Birth Injury Symptoms and Compensation

An infant may qualify to receive compensation for a birth injury. Too often, birth injuries are preventable. When an injury results from negligent medical care, a child may receive a monetary award.

Contact an Attorney for Infant Birth Injuries

Robert “Bobby” Jones of Bobby Jones Law is an attorney who has successfully handled multiple birth injury cases in the Upstate. He knows how important this is for your child. He aggressively investigates, builds evidence, and pursues claims for injured infants. Contact us to talk about your situation and get legal help.

Sources: B V Bhat, et. all., Bone Injuries During Delivery, Indian J. Pediatrician (1994).

Cerebral Palsy, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The team at Bobby Jones Law LLC works tirelessly for the injured in South Carolina. His achievements include:
  • More than $60 million collected for our clients
  • Multiple recoveries exceeding $1 million, including an eight-figure settlement
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
  • Named among the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report
  • Named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers
  • Named to Super Lawyers 2017–2024
  • Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Selected as Legal Elite of the Upstate 2021–2023
  • Named among Super Lawyers "Rising Stars"
We’re humbled to be considered one of the top firms in the Upstate and invite you to learn what sets our award-winning legal services apart. Call or request a consultation online.
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