The difference between a birth injury and a birth defect

Most people use the terms “birth injury” and “birth defect” interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different. If your baby was born with a serious injury, you may want to understand the difference between these two terms.

Birth injuries

Birth injuries, like the term suggests, happen to babies during birth — i.e., during the actual delivery process. As you might imagine or personally have experience with, the birthing process can be a physically difficult ordeal for both the baby and the mother, so these injuries are not uncommon. In fact, they occur to approximately five babies out of every 1,000.

Some birth injuries are natural and unavoidable. Others are the direct result of negligence on the part of the physician, medical staff or hospital in charge of supervising and tending to the birthing process. Obstetricians, for example, might fail to notice obvious signs and symptoms of a birth injury potential, they might use forceps in the wrong way or they might neglect to order an emergency caesarian section when it’s clear that one is required. In such cases, it may be possible to pursue a viable claim for birth injury-related damages in court.

Birth defects

Birth defects happen before the birthing process while the baby is developing in the womb of the mother. Approximately 7 percent of all infants are born with some kind of irregularity or ‘birth defect.” As such, like birth injuries, problems relating to birth defects are extraordinarily common. What’s vital to determine after a baby is born with a clear birth defect are: (1) how to treat the medical condition and help the baby live the best life possible and (2) whether a physician, medical staff or medical facility is at fault for the birth defect.

There are many signs and symptoms that point to the possibility of a birth defect, which — if discovered early enough — can benefit greatly from medical intervention. Doctors can prescribe medications, avoid prescribing medications and order various medical procedures to prevent birth defects in a wide variety of cases. As such, watching for specific signs and symptoms in pregnant mothers to prevent birth defects is vital and necessary to caring for a pregnant mother prior to birth. Neglecting to fulfill this responsibility could result in the liability of the treating physician.

Was your baby born with a birth defect or birth injury?

Regardless of what kind of birth injury or birth defect your baby is suffering from, it’s important to investigate why the medical problem arose and to determine your legal rights and options as soon as possible after discovering the medical condition.