Understanding the Difference Between Birth Defects and Birth Injuries

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One of the biggest fears parents face during a pregnancy is whether the child will be born healthy and free of any significant health problems. Most babies are born without any complications; however, there are instances in which problems arise or something goes wrong during labor or delivery.

What happens if there are complications at any point during the pregnancy that cause harm to the baby? You may have heard the term birth defects, but do you actually know what it means and how birth defects differ from birth injuries? If your child was born with health problems or you suffered complications during delivery, you need to speak with a South Carolina personal injury and medical malpractice attorney.


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Your baby’s condition may not be the result of a defect from pregnancy.

What Are Birth Defects?

The term birth defects typically refers to any problems that develop in the mother’s womb during pregnancy. Birth defects most commonly involve some aspect of the nervous system. They can be caused by hereditary issues and genetic mutations; however, they can also be a result of medication that should not have been administered or toxins that reach the fetus.

Birth defects are not always caused by medical malpractice. Genetics can play an important role, as well as the mother’s own behavior. A mother who drinks and does illicit drugs while pregnant can be a contributing factor, or even the primary cause, for a birth defect. There are also a few types of birth defects that doctors are unable to trace and essentially have no answer or understanding of why they occur.


How Do Birth Injuries Differ from Birth Defects?

Birth injuries, on the other hand, are not issues that developed during pregnancy.  Instead, they are problems that came about during delivery or just after the baby was born. In many cases, birth injuries are only temporary. However, there are some that can be permanent, and you may not even know there are issues until a few months, or even years, later.

Several of the more common types of birth injuries are:

  • Brain-related injuries that develop due to lack of oxygen to the fetus during delivery
  • Infection-related injuries that can be transferred to the baby either during development or during delivery
  • Damage to the brachial plexus group of nerves that can cause significant issues to the neck and arm


When is There a Claim for Medical Malpractice?

Negligence on the part of a medical provider can open the door for a medical malpractice claim. Some forms of negligence include:

  • Pulling too hard on the baby during delivery
  • Injury when using forceps to remove the baby from the birth canal
  • Lack of testing for gestational diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Failure to order a C-section or recognize when a baby is in distress


Hiring a South Carolina Birth Injuries Attorney

If you recently had a baby and believe a doctor or other medical professional were negligent at any point during your pregnancy or delivery, it’s important to meet with a skilled South Carolina personal injury attorney right away. The attorneys at Elrod Pope Law Firm have years of experience handling complex personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us evaluate whether you have a viable medical malpractice claim for a birth injury or birth defect.

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