Newborn Facial Bruising Could Be a Birth Injury

Out of every 1,000 live births, six to eight resulted in a birth injury. Some happen through the normal birthing process, however many are caused by medical negligence.  Birth injuries may range from minor problems such as lacerations or bruising to severe injuries that could prove fatal. The most common types of preventable birth injuries are caused by:

  • Pulling and/or twisting the infant improperly during the delivery period
  • Improper handling and use of birth-assisting tools, such as forceps or a vacuum extraction tool
  • Administering the wrong amount or the wrong type of medication to the mother during pregnancy and during labor
  • Failure to monitor the infant properly for distress, including failure to regularly monitor fetal heartbeat
  • Failure to schedule and perform emergency cesarean surgery (C-section)

Types of Bruises

Bruises occur when blood vessels under the skin bleed. The skin doesn’t break, but the blood begins to pool under the skin. The color and size of a bruise could and its size will vary depending on the type of injury. The most common facial bruises usually happen with premature birth, a large newborn, a mother’s pelvis size, breech birth, prolonged labor, and medical mistakes.

Forceps and Vaccum Extraction Delivery

Forceps can guide a baby’s head out of the birth canal. These can save a newborn’s life, but also, causes facial bruising.

A recent study in the Medical Association Journal on the role of forceps during the birth process found that the use of forceps increases the physical injuries to women and babies. Almost 27% of mothers experienced severe tears to pelvic organs and joints. These lacerations increase among first-time mothers and women with a previous C-section.

Mothers aren’t the only ones in danger. Researchers saw an increase of trauma to babies as well. The rate increased from 4.5 to 6.8 during the six-year study period. The most common injuries to babies included brachial plexus injury. This is damage to the nerves that come from the spinal cord in the neck and travel down the arm.

The reason the injury rates are rising is that doctors favor forceps use, however, skill and training to use the device is dwindling. Since more babies are born via C-section (roughly one third), there are fewer opportunities to teach younger doctors. In a 2007 study, only half of the graduates of an American residency program felt competent in using forceps.  Only 13% of all vaginal deliveries in America during 2014 used forceps.

This lack of training means more women will be injured. In fact, many women become very angry when they or their babies are injured since doctors are not competent in using the delivery aide.

If labor fails to progress, a doctor may need to use vacuum extraction to pull a newborn out. This could cause bruising on the scalp or lacerations.


Cephalohematomas happen after a birth injury causes blood beneath the baby’s skull. These could take months to heal or could lead to jaundice.

Caput Succedaneum

Caput succedaneum is a condition marked by scalp swelling, typically during or shortly after birth. It is usually caused by pressure from the mother’s uterus or vaginal wall during delivery. Bruising of the scalp is more likely to happen during a long and difficult labor, especially in situations when the amniotic sac has broken and the baby’s head is unprotected while passing through the birth canal.

Caput succedaneum can also be caused by the use of vacuum extraction devices during a protracted delivery. According to Medical News Today, symptoms include:

  • Scalp swelling
  • Puffiness on the top center of the head where the bones meet after birth
  • Scalp bruising
  • Facial brusing

Costs Associated with Birth Injuries

Birth injuries are often lifelong complications that require consistent medical treatment and rehabilitation. Depending upon the severity of the injuries, the financial costs associated with birth injuries can range from several thousand to over a million during the lifespan of a child with birth injuries.

For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lifetime costs associated with a child who has cerebral palsy (CP) is around $1 million. The costs associated with a child who suffers hearing loss after a birth injury typically ranges around $400,00.

It is important to remember that if your child’s birth injuries are a result of medical negligence and carelessness, the medical staff, hospital, and/or physician may be liable for damages. A complex litigation attorney can help. At The Michael Brady Lynch Firm, our lawyers have decades of experience helping injured people get justice and full compensation for injuries caused negligence. The Michel Brady Lynch Firm regularly takes on the largest corporations in the world with a track record of proven success and results. Contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm today, and our attorneys will review your case for free and help you protect your rights. For your complimentary consultation, call our office now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Contact Us Today

    Contact our lawyers directly through the email form below.

    Type of Case

    How did you find out about us?

    What Our Clients Are Saying