Every year, nearly 30,000 American children are affected by birth injuries. While some of these injuries are temporary, others can be chronic, necessitating lifelong specialized care. With approximately 1 in 130 new families experiencing a birth injury annually, it’s essential for parents to be aware of the trends and potential risk factors associated with these injuries.

The Trend of Birth Injuries in the US

The incidence of infant birth injuries has decreased by 25% since 2005. This decline can be attributed to several factors, including overall improvements in medical care. Notably, a reduction in tool-assisted births is seen as a significant contributor.

For decades, the use of forceps during delivery has been associated with a higher risk of birth injuries. While the decreased use of forceps has contributed to the overall decline in birth injuries, the risk associated with each use of forceps has been rising. If this trend continues, forceps may soon carry a higher risk of injury compared to alternatives like C-sections.

However, it’s important to note that natural births are not inherently safer. Over the past 30 years, the rate of injuries from vaginal births has significantly increased, often affecting both mother and child. To better understand the causes of these injuries, we need to examine some of the most severe risk factors.

Risk Factors and Injuries

Understanding and addressing certain risk factors can significantly reduce the likelihood of birth injuries. Regular prenatal care and consultations with your OB/GYN can help establish an action plan to mitigate these risks. Some common and treatable risk factors include:

High Blood Pressure

Expecting mothers should have their blood pressure monitored frequently, especially if they have a history of hypertension. Extremely high blood pressure can reduce the baby’s oxygen supply, increasing the risk of hypoxia and other brain injuries caused by a lack of oxygen.


Women with diabetes should consult their OB/GYN as soon as they become pregnant. Without proper management, children of diabetic mothers are more likely to be born prematurely, develop infant jaundice, or face developmental issues later in life. Even mothers without diabetes can be at risk for gestational diabetes, a temporary condition that can arise during pregnancy. Regular prenatal checkups are crucial to managing this risk.

Maternal Weight

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can significantly increase the risk of injury during vaginal birth. This can lead to head and neck injuries for the baby as it passes through the birth canal. In such cases, the use of forceps is more likely, which can result in lasting injuries. Mothers experiencing significant weight gain should work with their healthcare provider to develop a care plan and may consider a C-section to reduce the risk of injury.

Large Babies

Prenatal care is essential to determine the baby’s size relative to the mother’s pelvis. A large baby can dramatically increase the risk of injury during vaginal birth, as the baby may struggle to move through the birth canal. If the baby’s head is too large to fit through the pelvis, a condition known as cephalopelvic disproportion, an emergency C-section may be necessary if this issue is not identified before the due date.

Support for Families

If your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, know that support is available. To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice attorney from The Mabrey Firm, call us at (404) 841-4991 or send us an email. We’re here to help you navigate this challenging time.

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If you are looking for an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, look no further than The Mabrey Firm. With over 30 years of experience, our team of experienced trial attorneys believe in fighting for the people.

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