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What are the signs of brain injury in newborns?

As with cerebral palsy, it can be difficult to determine if your newborn suffered a brain injury.  This is because oftentimes symptoms will not be apparent until the child is around four to five years of age.

This is because doctors often need to see your child move to check coordination and motor skills as well as evaluate how well your child is learning.  Imaging methods such as CT scans, MRI scans, and cranial ultrasounds can help show damaged areas of the brain, but many times these imaging techniques do not show the full picture.

Complications during labor & delivery

In cases where there was a difficult delivery or delivery complications, doctors should be on the lookout for potential signs or symptoms of brain injury.  This is because delivery complications increase the likelihood of brain injuries, oftentimes because of asphyxia (lack of oxygen).  Usually, the longer the fetus or newborn is without oxygen, the more likely it is that brain damage has occurred.  However, the outcome is dependent on the area of the brain affected.

Some more common signs of pediatric brain injury include:

  • Developmental delays
  • Failure to thrive
  • Lack of coordination
  • Uncontrolled body movements
  • Spasticity or rigidness in body parts
  • Lack of tone
  • Vision problems
  • Tremors

Trusting your intuition

If you suspect your child suffered a brain injury during birth, it is important to closely monitor your child to ensure that they do not suffer any dangerous complications.  Oftentimes, it can take years for symptoms to develop, so it is important to take note of any changes or differences in your child.  In many cases, timely therapy can help your child cope with any problems.

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