What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect and why does it matter?

Bringing a new baby into the world is an exciting time in life. However, things may not always go as planned.

This can be especially true if you or your child has experienced physical issues during labor and delivery, and by knowing the difference between a birth defect and a birth injury, you will be better equipped to seek the right help moving forward.

Understanding what a birth defect is

A birth defect is a structural variation or difference that is present in the child’s body at birth. A birth defect can affect nearly any body part and can range from being a minor inconvenience to being severely debilitating. A birth defect is not the fault of a medical professional, as it is almost always genetic or the result of the baby’s position in the womb.

Understanding what a birth injury is

A birth injury, by contrast, is an injury caused to you or your child at the time of birth. Just as there are many types of birth defects, there are also many different types of birth injuries. Some birth injuries may not be serious, like some minor bruising. However, other birth injuries can be severe, like broken bones, a skull or spinal cord injury, or a lack of oxygen that causes brain damage.

birth injury is typically the cause of a medical professional not taking the proper action in a given situation or of negligence on their part. A doctor might not have timely ordered a C-section, for example, leading to the baby being without an adequate oxygen supply for an extended period. This can result in serious and debilitating conditions.

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