Bringing a child into the world is a remarkable and joyous milestone for most expecting parents. But unfortunately, devastating congenital disabilities and birth injuries aren’t uncommon occurrences. According to the CDC, congenital disabilities in the U.S. affect as many as one in every 33 infants. Birth injuries, on the other hand, affect 7 out of every 1,000 babies born.

Simply put, a congenital disability is a condition that is present from birth and caused by genetic abnormalities or chromosomal disorders. A birth injury is the result of trauma that happens to the baby during pregnancy, labor or the delivery process.

Health care providers are legally obligated to inform parents of any noticeable congenital disabilities or abnormalities observed during pregnancy, meaning most don’t come as a surprise to parents at birth. But while most birth injury cases are unexpected, a large percentage of them are also entirely preventable.

What can cause a birth injury?

A stressful and challenging delivery process is usually the culprit behind birth injuries, but difficult labor is avoidable with proper medical care. In the weeks before labor, doctors can monitor the size of the baby, it’s position and whether the umbilical cord is in a normal position.

Health care providers are capable of making mistakes for a variety of reasons, including medical negligence. The most common avoidable birth injuries are the result of medical staff:

  • Pulling or twisting the baby improperly during delivery
  • Improperly handling of tools such as forceps or vacuum extraction tools
  • Administering the wrong type or amount of medication to the mother during labor
  • Failing to monitor the baby for distress during labor
  • Failing to perform an emergency C-section

Birth injuries are serious and may result in lifelong complications and medical expenses for the families it affects. If your baby’s birth injuries were the result of carelessness or negligence, your health care providers might be liable for damages.