Identifying that a baby has a birth injury is not such an easy thing to do, especially if the signs are not obvious. In fact, a child’s injury may not be apparent until months or years later. But there are some initial signs after childbirth that parents should be looking out for. If any of these symptoms listed below are present in your child after delivery, then your doctor must have worked quickly to reduce further injury that may occur. A doctor that fails to identify and treat signs of a birth injury, or caused them through an error or neglect, may be liable for medical malpractice.
- The baby has swelling, bruising, or abrasions on their shoulders, face, or head
- The baby has seizures that happen within two days of being born
- The baby needed CPR shortly after being delivered
- The baby did not start breathing immediately after birth
- The baby has limp or loose arms (suggesting a lack of muscle strength/tone)
Birth injuries may have delayed symptoms, where parents don’t notice something is wrong until months or years afterwards. Parents are encouraged to keep a watchful eye for delayed injury symptoms at every stage of their baby’s development. Here are examples of signs to look out for that may mean a birth injury occurred:
- 1 month old: feeds and suckles slowly, does not blink when light is shined in their eyes, does not move limbs much, limbs seem loose or stiff.
- 3 months old: does not respond to noises, can’t hold or grasp objects, doesn’t push down with their legs when feet are on firm surface, cannot support head.
- 7 months old: muscles seem stiff, cannot sit up without assistance, cannot roll over, and has a floppy appearance.
- 1 year old: cannot stand even with support, does not crawl, and cannot say words like “mama” or “dada”.
The symptoms described above are only meant to be a basic guideline. If you suspect that your child may be showing signs of late birth injury, then you must talk with a doctor as soon as possible for a proper examination and diagnosis for the condition. Parents should be reveling in watching their child grow and meet developmental milestones. When this doesn’t happen, it can leave parents in anguish and worry for their child’s future. It is important for parents to know that a doctor’s mistake is what could have led to their baby’s injury, and that they may be entitled to restitution. While being awarded a settlement for a birth injury cannot necessarily take back the damage done, at the very least parents can have the financial means to ensure that their baby gets what they need for the rest of their lives.