How Do You Determine if the Injury to the Infant During Birth Caused the Neurologic Outcome?

babywalkerAn infant who has suffered an injury during birth may have brain damage. The level of damage usually depends on several factors. A parent should never try to determine the level of damage alone. It can be tricky to evaluate the damage and if there are any signs, consult a medical professional immediately. If the child has cerebral palsy, an official diagnosis may not happen until the child is 4 or 5 years old.

What are the Causes of Infant Brain Damage?

Infant brain damage has a variety of causes. Many things can happen during the birthing process, causing damage to a baby’s brain. The resulting damage depends on the severity of the complications and how they affected the baby. Here is a short list of some of the complications that can happen during birth to cause damage:

  • Lack of oxygen to the brain through birth asphyxia
  • Jaundice
  • Trauma during birth
  • Bacterial infections

Premature babies have a higher risk of developing complications than full-term pregnancies. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, there are two different periods of injuries to the tissue. The first is when the brain is deprived of oxygen, and the second is when the blood flow and oxygen return to the tissue. Longer periods of deprivation cause more severe damage, and in extreme cases it can lead to organ failure and death.

What are the Symptoms of Infant Brain Damage?

Unusual crying is one of the first signs that something is wrong. Babies are programmed to cry when they are in distress. It is not abnormal for a baby to do a fair amount of crying after birth. It is abnormal for the crying to turn into high-pitched wailing that continues for hours. Typically, physical contact and nourishment comfort babies. If neither of these works to calm the crying, something else might be the culprit.

Sometimes physical signs of brain damage exist. Abnormally small skulls or very large foreheads are often signs of brain damage. Deformities of the face and the spine are also known to be indicators of a neurological problem. Doctors can often see the signs of brain damage in an infant’s focus. They have difficulty focusing their gaze, showing their brain is not processing information correctly.

As the child grows, more signs become apparent. Developmental delays can indicate trouble. While not meeting a milestone may not seem important at first, it can indicate improper brain development and a larger problem. It is important not to panic if your baby does not hit a milestone right away. Not all babies follow the same timeline. But if your child is continually falling behind, it is a good idea to discuss it with your doctor.

What Types of Diagnostic Testing Determines Brain Damage?

If a doctor thinks a child has suffered brain damage, he or she will most likely order diagnostic testing for further information. Different tests are used for different forms of information. CT scans, MRI scans, and cranial ultrasounds can all show the damage to the tissue in the brain. If the doctor suspects cerebral palsy, he or she will continue to monitor the signs over time. If the scans show a progressive decline, doctors can rule out CP, because it is not a progressive disorder.

If your child suffered an injury during birth, there is a good chance it contributed to the brain damage. It can be difficult to pinpoint which injury caused what damage, and in most cases, it is nearly impossible. If you have questions about your child’s brain damage, it can be helpful to get multiple opinions. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists created a set of criteria, linking differing levels of asphyxia to cerebral palsy. Not all medical professionals believe in these criteria, so it can often be difficult to find a medical professional who supports this list.