While there are many types of birth injuries, there seem to be two that are particularly common among newborns in the U.S. Usually resulting from complications that occurred during the actual delivery process, cerebral palsy and Erb's palsy afflict a number of newborns every year.
When a baby's body movements and brain functioning are adversely affected, the disorder will very likely be classified as cerebral palsy. This is a broad term that has been assigned to many different birth deficiencies, some resulting from the delivery process and others symptomatic of problems that existed in the womb. Common situations that can cause cerebral palsy in a newborn child are: lack of oxygen to a baby's brain during the delivery process, prolonged bleeding in the baby's brain after delivery (usually from head trauma), failure to deliver a baby through caesarian section when necessary, very premature birth and use of harmful prescription drugs during pregnancy. Children who suffer from cerebral palsy may show signs immediately, however, some may take more time to manifest. These symptoms include delays in development, i.e. slow to begin talking, crawling, rolling over or even smiling, abnormal muscle tone, floppiness of limbs, poor coordination, vision problems, hearing problems, unusual posture and involuntary movements.
Sometimes referred to as brachial palsy because the newborn experiences injury to their brachial plexus, this is a problem that afflicts approximately 2 out of every 1,000 newborns. Most often, this condition occurs during the delivery process, a result of too much applied pressure to a baby's neck, head or shoulders. Typically, Erb's palsy manifests in babies who are above average in weight. Most often, this is a result of a physician or obstetrician's failure to properly delivery a baby, especially in situations involving shoulder dystocia, failure to recognize that a caesarian section should be performed to accommodate for the baby's bigger size and application of excessive pressure on the baby's head / neck / shoulders. Common symptoms associated with the condition include arm limpness, paralysis, loss of sensations in the hands and fingers, and very limited movement (sometimes no movement at all) in the baby's hands and fingers. Permanent nerve damage is also possible.
Jaundice is a common condition which newborn babies can suffer from. With the correct treatment, it can be easily handled, but there are rare cases where it can turn into something much more serious. A neurological disorder which can occur in infants who are suffering from a bad case of jaundice is kernicterus. When there are high levels of bilirubin in the system, a substance caused by the recycling of red blood cells, it can result in jaundice or kernicterus. This usually occurs when the baby is one week old or less and can result in permanent damage like loss of hearing or brain damage. Some symptoms to be on the lookout for include lethargy, seizures, high-pitched crying, and rigid muscles. This condition is so serious that it can result in permanent damage and death. For this reason, it is imperative that medical staff is careful to treat this cases correctly.