Any injury that involves the brain is serious and needs careful treatment and monitoring. Brain injuries don’t just happen in adults—they can occur in infants and babies as well. Understanding how these occur is important for any mother or father whose child has sustained a serious brain injury.

These are daunting injuries, often associated with developmental problems, issues with cognitive abilities, and more. In the worst-case scenario, these injuries can be fatal. This is why it’s so important to understand how these happen and how you may be able to prevent them.

Injuries During Pregnancy

Brain injuries during pregnancy are often caused by potential issues such as high blood pressure passed from the mother to the baby or in situations where there is oxygen deprivation. This can include umbilical cord strangulation.

The doctor should monitor the pregnancy carefully to determine if there are any issues regarding the fetus. Typically, there will be fetal distress that the doctor can detect, and proper monitoring can help identify if a brain injury can occur.

Injuries During Labor

Brain injuries caused during labor are typically a result of a medical professional’s negligence. This is because they’re commonly caused by the doctor’s actions or inactions during labor. For instance, if labor is allowed to go on for too long, the baby may suffer a brain injury.

Some of the other causes of brain injuries during labor and delivery is if the doctor improperly uses forceps or vacuum extractors. These are instruments used on the head, so any misuse can damage the baby’s brain.

Types of Brain Injuries in Infants

Brain injuries in infants can happen from complications during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Here are some of the most common types of brain injuries that can affect newborns:

  • Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): This is a condition caused by a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the baby’s brain. It can range in severity and lead to lasting neurological impairments.
  • Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy is a group of movement disorders that affect a child’s ability to control their muscles. It can be caused by brain damage that occurs before, during, or shortly after birth.
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages: Bleeding within the skull can put pressure on the brain and cause damage. This type of injury can be caused by complications during delivery, such as difficult labor or the misuse of forceps or vacuum extraction.
  • Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL): This is a softening and damage to the white matter of the brain, often occurring in premature babies. PVL can affect a child’s motor skills, learning, and vision and increase the risk of cerebral palsy.

Signs and Symptoms of Brain Injuries in Newborns

Unfortunately, brain injuries in newborns may not always be immediately obvious. But here are some signs and symptoms to keep on your radar:

  • Seizures: Seizures or abnormal muscle movements can indicate a brain injury.
  • Feeding Difficulties: Difficulty sucking, swallowing, or coordinating sucking and swallowing can be an indicator of neurological problems.
  • Muscle Weakness or Stiffness: This can manifest as slackness or difficulty controlling movements.
  • Developmental Delays: Infants with brain injuries may miss developmental milestones, such as rolling over, sitting, or vocalizing.
  • Vision Or Hearing Problems: Brain injuries can sometimes affect a baby’s vision or hearing.

Long-Term Effects and Care Needs

The long-term impact of a brain injury at birth can vary greatly, depending on the severity and location of the damage. Some potential challenges include:

  • Physical Limitations: Children may struggle with mobility, coordination, or fine motor skills.
  • Learning Disabilities: Cognitive challenges can affect a child’s ability to learn and retain information.
  • Speech And Language Delays: Brain injuries can prevent a child from communicating effectively.
  • Behavioral Problems: Children with brain injuries sometimes experience attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other behavioral challenges.

If a child suffers from any of the above problems, there are many resources and support services available to help children with brain injuries reach their full potential. These may include:

  • Early Intervention Services: These programs provide specialized therapy, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, to help address developmental delays.
  • Special Education: Children with significant learning disabilities may benefit from individualized education plans (IEPs) within the school system.
  • Support Groups: Connecting with other families who have children with brain injuries can provide emotional support and helpful resources.
  • Assistive Technology/Devices: Special tools and equipment can help children with brain injuries overcome limitations and become more independent.

If you have any questions about your child’s development, don’t wait to speak with their pediatrician or a specialist as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and intervention can make a big difference in your child’s long-term physical and mental outcome.

Why Hire a Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer?

As a parent of a child who sustained a brain injury due to negligence, you have rights. Our Chicago birth injury attorneys at Beam Legal Team can help explain these rights and work with you to seek compensation.

Brain injuries should be taken seriously, and the parties responsible for these injuries should be held fully accountable for the damages they cause. Contact us at (866) 766-3806 today for your free consultation.

Originally published November 14, 2018.

Categories: Birth Injury,