Symptoms, Treatment and Rehabilitation After A Birth Injury

The injuries to mother or baby during birth have a number of different symptoms and treatments associated with them. Depending on the type and severity of each injury the time and amount of rehabilitation required can vary.


Cerebral palsy

Symptoms: Muscle spasms, uncontrollable movements, difficulties with speech, difficulties with co-ordination.
Treatment: Occupational therapy, surgery to try and alleviate impaired function, medication to try and ease muscle spasm.
Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation takes the form of symptom management

Brachial plexus palsy (Erb's Palsy)

Symptoms: Loss of motion in the shoulder, with the arm appearing limp and turned inward, bent at the elbow with the wrist flexed.
Treatment: Surgery, hydrotherapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy.
Rehabilitation: Recovery is possible but takes time depending on the severity of the condition, physical therapy and in some cases surgery are required with recovery usually taking between 6 months and a year.

Broken bones

Symptoms: Bruising and pain around the broken area, inability to move the damaged limb.
Treatment: Diagnosis via X-ray – treatment can involve supporting and securing the injury using splints, casts and possibly surgery in the event of a severe break.
Rehabilitation: Depending on the severity of the break it can take 6 to 8 weeks for an injury to heal. If the break was near the end of a bone its ability to grow and develop could be impacted and would need to be observed.

Brain damage

Symptoms: Developmental issues, seizures, cognitive problems.
Treatment: Medication, occupational therapy, potential surgery depending on the cause of the brain damage.
Rehabilitation: Depending on the severity of the injury a child could make a full recovery. However in some cases the child will need ongoing care as a result of the symptoms resulting from their injuries.

Spinal damage

Symptoms: Spasms, lack of touch sensations, difficulty moving.
Treatment: Support the spine to help alleviate pain and aid recovery, surgery in extreme cases.
Rehabilitation: Again the severity of the injury has a direct impact on the rate of recovery and the amount of recovery possible. In mild cases a child can make a full recovery in more severe instances movement difficulties or even paralysis could be a result of spinal injury.

Perinatal asphyxia

Symptoms: Low heart rate, weak breathing, and skin discolouration.
Treatment: emergency oxygen, use of ventilators, medication.
Rehabilitation: Depending on how long the baby was without oxygen recovery could take a few days to a few weeks. In severe cases perinatal asphyxia can lead to other problems such as cerebral palsy or other developmental disabilities.

Hip dysplasia

Symptoms: Difficulty moving legs, clicking or ‘snapping’ sound from hips
Treatment: X-rays, a Pavlik Harness can be used to help align the child’s hips properly. Surgery can also be an option.
Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation can take time and hip dysplasia can even go undiagnosed until a child starts to learn to walk where it is noticed by an unusual gait when trying to move.

Maternal diabetes

Symptoms: tiredness, constantly thirsty, needing to use toilet a lot, dry mouth, blurred vision.
Treatment: diet and exercise to help regulate blood sugar levels, it is possible that medication or insulin injections might be necessary. During the pregnancy there will also be additional care taken including extra ultrasounds and precautionary measures to help protect the mother and baby from potential complications.
Rehabilitation: Following birth the symptoms of diabetes should end, tests are conducted after the birth to check on recovery and progress.


Symptoms: Protein in urine, high blood pressure, fluid retention, swelling of feet and ankles.
Treatment: Prior to birth frequent blood tests and urine samples will be done to monitor condition with the mother often being required to stay in hospital until birth as a precaution.
Rehabilitation: After birth both the baby and mother are monitored, the mother may be required to take medication to lower her blood pressure, even after leaving hospital, and have occasional blood tests to assess recovery.

Neonatal Infection

Symptoms: Common identifiers include difficulty breathing, spasms, temperature, localised symptoms such as skin discolouration, redness and swelling.
Treatment: Antibiotics – in some cases, use of a ventilator or other means of supporting the baby could also be necessary.
Rehabilitation: Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the spread of infection and greatly reduce the risk of long-term damage to the infected area.

Lasting pain or gynaecological damage

Symptoms: Pain when going to the toilet, discomfort, persistent pain including during sex.
Treatment: Stitches, surgery.
Rehabilitation: Depending on the severity of the injury and the level of treatment needed rehabilitation can take from a few days or weeks to several months to be fully recovered.

Incontinence, double incontinence

Symptoms: Difficulty going to the toilet, depression, anxiety.
Treatment: Medication, therapy, in some severe cases surgery can be a consideration (dependent upon the cause)
Rehabilitation: Following a birth normal bowel and bladder function can return over time however in some instances medical intervention will be needed if symptoms persist. In these cases it can often be a case of finding ways to cope with symptoms and lessen the distress the condition can cause.

If you believe that you or your child has suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence during childbirth, you may be able to make a personal injury or medical negligence claim. Contact Claim 500 now to discuss your options with one of our dedicated advisors.

Further Information On Birth Injuries

Types of Birth Injury

Symptoms, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Birth Injuries

Advice and Information on Birth Injuries

Interim Payments for Birth Injury Claims 


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