Why Was My Baby Born with Bruises?

Why Was My Baby Born with Bruises? The miracle of childbirth is fascinating, stressful, tiring, and overwhelming. As beautiful as it is, giving birth is scary, especially when you see your child for the first time and they have bruises on their face or other areas of their body.

Now, it’s not uncommon for newborns to come into the world with bruises; giving birth (and being birthed) is not gentle. However, if the bruises are extensive or show up days after birth, there could be underlying issues that should be examined immediately because it’s likely your baby suffered birth injuries. If those injuries are serious, they can have a life-long impact on your child.

What are the three types of bruises my baby may sustain?

There are three types of bruises that can occur during childbirth:

  • Subcutaneous (under the skin)
  • Intramuscular (within the muscle tissue)
  • Periosteal (on top of or under the bones)

What can lead to infant bruises during labor or delivery?

  • Forceps and/or vacuum extractor trauma. If a baby has bruises on their head or neck and the doctor used operative tools to remove the baby from the birth canal, it could be a sign that the doctor used too much force during removal. It could also be a sign that the doctor used an improper technique with the tools when removing the baby. The negligent use of vacuum extractors and forceps are the leading cause of brachial plexus injuries like Erb’s palsy, and brain injuries like cerebral palsy.
  • Caput succedaneum. This is a condition where an area of the baby’s skull suffers edema when the head passed through the birth canal. It often presents as the skull being puffy or soft. It is a benign condition but can lead to more serious issues such as jaundice.
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation. This is a very rare condition involving bleeding in the newborn. The symptoms of this birth injury include bruising, uncontrolled blood clotting, and bleeding. This condition is often caused by asphyxia, sepsis, and respiratory distress.
  • Shoulder dystocia. When one of the shoulders of the baby becomes stuck behind the mother’s pelvis during delivery, the baby suffers shoulder dystocia. The baby cannot be delivered until the stuck shoulder has been dislodged by the doctor. More often than not, the baby will suffer bruising to the neck and shoulder areas as a result of dislodging the stuck shoulder.
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage. A subconjunctival hemorrhage is not technically a bruise, but it often looks like one. This condition occurs when blood vessels underneath the surface of the skin around the eye rupture. Blood vessels can rupture when there is trauma present during birth. The baby will have redness around their eye and a red spot on the white of the impacted eye.

Birth injuries are serious and should never be ignored. The sooner you seek treatment for your child, the likelier it is that their condition will not deteriorate. It is important to note that you should seek legal representation from the experienced team at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP if your child suffered birth injuries. Call one of our offices in Toms River, Edison, or Red Bank at 732-777-0100, or complete the contact form to schedule a consultation.