Maternal and Birth Injuries

7th December 2017

In Brief:-

Kate Kennell discusses the type of injuries that can arise during pregnancy, childbirth and post natal care.

In Detail:-

Having a baby should be a time of joy and one of those precious moments to reflect and look back upon as a happy lifetime event

Unfortunately, however, sometimes things can go wrong, be it during pregnancy, labour, delivery or in the aftercare of your child.

When the level of medical care you receive from medical professionals falls short, resulting in birth injury or birth trauma, the result can be having to live with life changing consequences for both the parents and the child

Mistakes can be made in a clinical setting by Consultant Obstetricians, Midwifes, and Nurses at anytime which are avoidable.

It is then possible to instruct solicitors to investigate the merits of bringing a clinical negligence claim on behalf or a mother or your child in order to provide financial compensation.

The payment of damages can assist in the most serious of claims with help and support in financing a care package, providing suitable accommodation; much needed specialist physiotherapy or speech and language therapy as well as providing assisted technology.

Such compensation cannot change what’s happened in the past but it can help to enhance your child’s life and to assist with support and care where it is most needed.

One of the most serious types of birth injuries is Cerebral Palsy. This is a blanket term commonly referred to as “CP” and describes a loss or impairment of motor function.

Cerebral Palsy is actually caused by brain damage. The brain damage can be caused by brain injury or abnormal development of the brain that occurs while a child’s brain is still developing — before birth, during birth, or immediately after birth.

The current UK incidence rate of cerebral palsy is around 1 in 400 births. That translates to 0.25% of the 696,000 births in the UK in 2016.

Other complications can occur to the baby whilst in the womb resulting in Still Birth. In 2016, there were 3112 still births in the UK.

Birth injury or birth trauma can occur for a whole host of reasons and at various different stages through out a pregnancy or the delivery of the baby.

As with any complex and individual medical procedure, giving birth is open to a wide range of complications, some of which date back to treatment received (or not received) in the months leading up to the birth, others which occur during labour itself.

It could be that there is a failure on the part of medical staff to pick up on a foetal abnormality on antenatal scans. It may be that the baby is in a difficult position in the womb i.e. a breech presentation or where the baby cannot easily pass through the birth canal (dystocia) without injury.

Sometimes it is due to the nature or method of the delivery itself; either the delivery is too rapid, prolonged or there is a delay in performing a caesarean section.  Injuries can also occur during an instrumental delivery e.g. ventouse or forceps injuries.

The list below is far from complete, but offers a few examples of the kind of injuries which can occur when something goes wrong during childbirth.

Types of Birth Injury Claims:-

Maternal Injuries

  • Pre-natal infections
  • Pre Eclampsia
  • Placenta Previa
  • Uterine rupture / placental abruption
  • Vaginal tears
  • Retained placenta
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Sepsis

Injuries to the Child

  • Birth Asphyxia leading to Cerebral Palsy
  • Shoulder Dystocia leading to Brachial Plexus injury and Erbs-palsy
  • Complications due to the baby being too small/large for gestational dates
  • Caput succedaneum
  • Errors in forceps or ventouse delivery
  • Still birth
  • Neonatal death
  • Sepsis
  • Meningitis


It is important to instruct specialist lawyers who are equipped with legal experience of dealing with such claims. This can be guaranteed at Fairweathers with access to an all female team, if required, offering support, understanding and expert professional advice every step of the claim.

Kate Virica has more than 20 years post qualification experience.

She covers a wide range of work with a particular interest and specialism in women’s health and well being.

If you or your family need the assistance of our experienced specialist team of Clinical Negligence Solicitors then please submit your case details for our consideration.