Home / Blog / Why Was My Baby Born with a Bruised Face?

Childbirth is a physically strenuous experience that pushes the endurance of both mother and child. Mild bruising to the face and body of a newborn is a common, as it can be caused as your child passes through the birth canal. This type of bruising typically resolves within a few days.

However, extensive or severe bruising to the face may result from birth trauma and may indicate serious life-altering birth injuries. Contact our Indianapolis birth injury attorneys to help prove the liability of the parties responsible for harm they caused during your child’s birth.

How Did My Baby Get a Bruised Face?

Although your baby’s bruising may be due to natural causes, it can also be the result of medical negligence, for which you can receive compensation for any resulting medical expenses and hardship. Some common causes of neonatal bruising include:

Vaginal delivery

When the baby is large, or the labor is long and difficult, pressure against the mother’s pelvis can cause swelling and bruising on the newborn. The area around the eyes or face may swell or bruise after a face-first delivery. A feet-first birth may cause swelling or bruises to appear on the scrotum, labia, or feet.

Subconjunctival hemorrhage

Traumatic childbirth can cause blood vessels under the skin around the eye to rupture, leaving the baby with a subconjunctival hemorrhage. Redness appears around the baby’s eye, making it seem like a bruise. A red patch on the white of the damaged eye can also occur.

Forceps and vacuum extractor trauma

The risk of bruising and lacerations is higher during forceps or vacuum extractor-assisted vaginal births than during unaided vaginal deliveries. Forceps are used to aid in the delivery of the baby. A vacuum extractor provides suction to the head of the infant during delivery.

What Birth Injuries Can Result from the Misuse of Forceps?

If your newborn develops bruises after removal from the birth canal using forceps and a vacuum extractor, the doctor may have used too much force. Bruising can also be the result of improper technique. Negligent use of forceps and vacuum extractors can cause the following birth injuries:

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy may develop when forceps injure the cerebrum, the part of the brain that controls motor function. Children with this condition often have problems with movement and coordination.

Erb’s palsy

This condition affects the neck’s brachial plexus nerves, leaving the arm paralyzed or weak. When a doctor attempts to deliver the baby quickly and pulls them out of the birth canal with force, the baby’s neck may be stretched, and the nerves strained.

Facial injuries

Facial nerve palsies, cuts, and eye damage are common facial injuries resulting from a forceps delivery. A facial nerve palsy results from pressure on the facial nerve shortly before or during birth, preventing muscle movement in the infant’s face.

This issue usually resolves on its own in a few months. In rare cases, the facial muscles on the affected side might become permanently paralyzed.

Brain bleeding

The misuse of forceps can cause brain bleeds such as cephalohematoma. A cephalohematoma develops when blood gathers just over the head, creating bruises and lumps on the scalp.

Some cephalohematomas may need treatment to prevent jaundice, but most dissolve into the bloodstream over time.

Broken bones

Bruising may result from bone fractures. Your child may require an X-ray if they scream or show symptoms of discomfort when accidentally touched in the affected area. A bone fracture in a newborn heals quickly, but it can hinder movement if left untreated.

What Are Other Symptoms of Birth Injuries Asides from Bruising?

While bruising may or may not indicate a negligent birth injury, it could mean a serious birth injury for which you can receive fair compensation. Symptoms of other birth injuries that may be present in addition to bruising include:

Facial paralysis

A total loss of the facial nerve can result in your child having facial paralysis. One or both sides of the face may not move when their facial nerves have been damaged, especially when they cry.

Shoulder dystocia

The brachial plexus is a cluster of nerves running from the shoulders to the arms. If the doctor fails to place the baby’s shoulders appropriately during delivery, the brachial plexus can be injured, and the newborn may lose the ability to move one or both arms.

Swelling of the scalp’s soft tissue

Also known as Caput succedaneum, the lack of amniotic fluid may cause swelling of the fragile scalp tissue, damaging your baby’s scalp. This often happens during labor, especially when the doctor uses a vacuum extractor.

Get Justice for Your Child’s Birth Injury

If you believe your child’s birth trauma was preventable and caused serious or permanent harm, a birth injury lawsuit can help you win fair compensation to help with current and future medical bills. The birth injury attorneys at Wagner Reese can help you take legal action for your child’s birth injury. Schedule a free consultation with us today to find out if you have a case.