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What is the difference between birth injuries and birth traumas?

In this video, John McCarthy answers the frequently asked question, “What is the difference between birth injuries and birth traumas?”


There is no specific definition of either of them and I’d imagine there’s probably a different definition for the medical world and the legal world. In layman’s terms, birth injury covers the entire spectrum where there could be an injury sustained, from the antenatal period, perhaps because of an infection the mother has that the child picks up for instance, or because of preeclampsia or diabetes that hasn’t been monitored properly, into the intrapartum phase, which is the labour and delivery. It also covers the neonatal phase, so there could be an injury sustained by either the mother or the child at any time in those three periods. Birth trauma is usually more specific to a mechanical injury, which is sustained in the course of the delivery, whether that’s by use of forceps, by a vacuum or by an obstetrician having to physically pull a baby out because of the way they’re stuck in the birth canal. Likewise, if there’s any injury to the mother’s anatomy because of the forced nature of the delivery, that will be perceived as a birth trauma, which is a kind of a subgroup of birth injury.

Have you or your child suffered a birth injury?

Contact our birth injury solicitors for advice on whether you may be entitled to compensation.

Medical Negligence Team at McCarthy + Co