Ischaemia within the regions supplied by vertebral and posterior cerebral arteries has been described as a complication of birth injury, either by direct trauma or by compression from a herniated temporal uncus. Ischaemia within the territory of the middle cerebral artery has been documented after a stretch injury of the vessel's elastica interna. From a series of seven personal observations on birth trauma and related cerebral stroke, we describe three neonates with the uncal herniation type of occipital stroke and four infants with hypoperfusion of the middle cerebral artery or one of its major branches. In three of the latter a basal convexity subdural haemorrhage probably induced the ischaemia, whereas in the other it was associated with haemorrhagic contusion of the parietal lobe. Experimental work and reports on older children support the idea that vasospasm due to surrounding extravasated blood can be one of the responsible mechanisms. Both forceps delivery and difficult vacuum extraction can be implicated in this supratentorial injury, leading to permanent neurological damage in at least half of the survivors in this series.