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What Are the Effects of a Traumatic Birth on a Baby?

November 8, 2023

Traumatic birth can have long-term effects for both the baby and the baby’s parents. Unfortunately, birth trauma is much more common than it should be, as doctors and nurses too often make mistakes that they could—and should—have avoided.

If your newborn experienced a traumatic birth, it will be important for you to make sure you understand the long-term risks and get the care your child needs. It will also be important for you to speak with a lawyer about your family’s legal rights. If your child’s traumatic birth was the result of medical malpractice, your family may be entitled to financial compensation, and recovering this compensation could be essential for managing the long-term costs of your doctor’s or nurse’s mistake. 

Understanding the Effects of a Traumatic Birth on a Baby 

A traumatic birth can have both physical and psychological effects, and these effects can last well into childhood—and even into adulthood in some cases. As reported in The Washington Post last year, “researchers believe that if left untreated, trauma experienced in infancy can sometimes result in lifelong health consequences.” Similarly, a frequently-cited scholarly article published in 2010 states that, “[b]irth trauma can affect infants in adverse ways . . . includ[ing] feeding problems, bonding issues and emotional health.”

The specific consequences of a traumatic birth depend on numerous factors. These include the nature and severity of the trauma, the baby’s health and development at the time of birth, and the quality of the care received (if any) after delivery. Unfortunately, while the effects of a traumatic birth will be evident in some cases, this isn’t always the case; and, even when it is, healthcare providers can still fail to do what is necessary to mitigate the risk of long-term effects. 

Given the multiple risks for birth injuries and the various long-term effects these injuries can cause, early identification and diagnosis are critical. Some examples of the effects that can result from a traumatic birth include:

  • Physical trauma, abnormalities, and defects
  • Cognitive developmental delays and disorders 
  • Psychological and emotional health problems 
  • Feeding problems leading to malnourishment and other complications 
  • Anxiety, bonding issues, and other effects that negatively impact the child’s life

With today’s medical knowledge and technology, all of these concerns can—and should—be avoided in the substantial majority of cases. Doctors and nurses have the information and tools they need to oversee safe deliveries and avoid traumatic births. Yet, traumatic births still happen. Doctors and nurses still make mistakes; and, when they do, it is patients (and their patients’ families) who suffer the consequences. 

Managing the Long-Term Financial and Non-Financial Costs of a Traumatic Birth

Since traumatic births frequently result from medical malpractice, parents of newborns who experience birth trauma will have claims for financial compensation in many cases. In Illinois, hospitals and other healthcare facilities can be held liable when their doctors and nurses make mistakes, and parents can seek full compensation for all of the immediate and long-term effects of their children’s trauma. 

Over a child’s lifetime, the financial and non-financial costs of birth trauma can be substantial. Along with medical bills for both short-term and long-term care, birth trauma can lead to other financial costs as well. These include everything from the cost of transportation and medical supplies to the child’s inability to work in the future. The non-financial costs of birth trauma—living with unnecessary physical or psychological challenges—can be even greater. These are all losses that parents can seek to recover under Illinois law. 

Filing a Claim for a Traumatic Birth in Illinois

If you have concerns about the long-term effects of your child’s traumatic birth, your next step is to speak with a lawyer in Illinois about your family’s legal rights. Filing a medical malpractice claim is a process that is subject to strict rules and deadlines under Illinois law. While most successful traumatic birth cases settle through the healthcare provider’s insurance company, there are no guarantees, and effectively asserting your family’s legal rights isn’t easy. But, it is possible, and you can feel confident that you are doing everything possible to protect your child with an experienced lawyer on your side. 

Speak with a Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer for FREE

Do you need to know more about the process of filing a claim for the effects of a traumatic birth in Illinois? If so, we invite you to get in touch. 

Contact Coplan + Crane today online or at 312-982-0588 for a FREE case evaluation. We serve clients from Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas in Illinois.