top of page

Birth Trauma & Obstetrical Malpractice


The birth of your child should be the most joyous day of your life. Tragically, however, trauma during the birthing process can result in numerous issues including cerebral palsy, developmental delay, hypoxic-ischemic brain damage (“HIE”), brachial plexus injuries, and even maternal or fetal wrongful death. If your child suffered a serious birth injury, seek experienced legal advice on how to investigate further. In some cases, the injury may have been caused by a doctor, nurse, or hospital negligence – meaning it could have and should have been prevented.

Through a diligent review of the medical records, films, placental pathology results, and input from independent expert witnesses, our birth injury team may be able to make a case for medical negligence. The Michigan birth injury team at Jefferson Law Center can and will provide this analysis to help you and your family. We serve clients throughout Michigan. We invite you to contact us to reserve a consultation time with an experienced Michigan birth injury lawyer.

Jefferson Law strives to help families who have suffered a traumatic and negligent birth leading to brain damage or other birth injuries. Our Michigan birth injury team has helped people throughout the state in complex malpractice cases involving negligent prenatal care, labor, and delivery negligence as well as postpartum malpractice. We look out for our client's best interests and provide practical advice about what we can do to help. When you need an aggressive advocate on your side, a Michigan-based birth injury lawyer from Jefferson Law is prepared to help.


TPAL terminology= A system used to describe obstetrical history.

T=term births

P=preterm births (prior to 37 weeks



L=living children

Example: A woman who has 2 living children born as preterm twins in her first pregnancy would be designated as: TPAL 0-1-0-2 – 0 term births, 1 delivery prior to 37 weeks gestation (preterm), 0 pregnancies ending in spontaneous or induced abortions, and 2 living children

Separate TPAL numbers by hyphens. Obstetric history: 4-2-2-4

Alternatively, spell out the terms as follows:

Obstetric history: 4 term infants, 2 premature infants, 2 abortions, 4 living children

Sometimes, GPA terminology is combined with TPAL terminology.

The patient is gravida 3, 3-0-0-3.

GPA terminology with GPA as the abbreviation for gravida, para, abortus. Accompanied by arabic numbers, G, P, and A (or Ab) describe the patient’s obstetric history. Roman numerals are not used.

G gravida (number of pregnancies)

P para (number of births of viable offspring)

A or Ab abortus (abortions)

nulligravida gravida 0 no pregnancies

primigravida gravida 1, G1 1 pregnancy

secundigravida gravida 2, G2 2 pregnancies

nullipara para 0 offspring

Separate GPA sections by commas. Alternatively, spell out the terms, using lower case.

Obstetric history: G4, P3, A1

 or Obstetric history: gravida 4, para 3, abortus 1.

When one or more of the numbers is 0, the preferred form is to write out the terms: gravida 2, para 0, abortus 2

What is Birth Trauma?

Birth trauma (BT) refers to damage to the tissues and organs of a newly delivered child, often as a result of physical pressure or trauma during childbirth. The term also encompasses the long-term consequences, often of a cognitive nature, of damage to the brain or cranium. The medical study of birth trauma dates to the 16th century, and the morphological consequences of mishandled delivery are described in Renaissance-era medical literature. Birth injury occupies a unique area of concern and study in the medical canon.

However, there are often clear distinctions to be made between brain damage caused by birth trauma and that induced by intrauterine asphyxia. It is also crucial to distinguish between “birth trauma” and “birth injury.” Birth injuries encompass any systemic damages incurred during delivery (hypoxic, toxic, biochemical, infection factors, etc.), but “birth trauma” focuses largely on mechanical damage. Caput succedaneum, subcutaneous hemorrhages, small subperiosteal hemorrhages, hemorrhages along the displacements of cranial bones, intradural bleedings, and subcapsular hematomas of the liver, are among the more commonly reported birth injuries. Birth trauma, on the other hand, encompasses the enduring side effects of physical birth injuries, including the ensuing compensatory and adaptive mechanisms and the development of pathological processes (pathogenesis) after the damage.

Obstetrics deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period. In order to have the knowledge to understand and practice obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN), familiarity with terminologies in the industry is a must.

Like other medical terminologies, words used in OB-GYN are heavily coded and may be confusing at times.

Common Birth Injuries 

Not every birth injury is the result of negligence. Many birth injuries are congenital in nature, meaning the baby was simply formed this way through no fault of the care provider. After something goes wrong during delivery, the next step is to determine whether a birth injury is due to negligence or congenital in nature.

Common Birth Injuries that can result from Malpractice or Negligence

• Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral palsy is the most common disability and can be caused by abnormal position. However, an improperly performed C-section can cause significant complications, disability, or death.

• Complications from Failure to Diagnose and Respond to Preeclampsia. This disorder is characterized by dangerously high blood pressure and kidney involvement and is among the most common causes of pregnancy-related death.

Other Common Birth Injuries

 • Forceps Injuries. If the forceps blades are not properly positioned, or if excessive force is applied, there may be bruising, facial nerve palsy, or depression fracture of the skull.

• Skull Fractures. During birth, contraction forces may cause pressure on an oversized fetal head, fracturing skull bones.

• Vacuum Extractor Injuries. Misuse of vacuum extractor equipment can cause cranial malformation and skull fracture.

• Postpartum Negligence. Insufficient monitoring of mother and/or baby, resulting in complications such as untreated infection, excessive bleeding or respiratory distress.

Get in Touch

(586) 270-4010

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
bottom of page