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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

Learn More

Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Physical Symptoms

It is hard to tell if a baby is suffering from a headache, but other physical symptoms are easier to recognize. Among the most obvious physical problems associated with an infant brain injury at birth include:

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  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Sleep disorders
  • Poor coordination/muscle control

Coordination and muscle problems constitute a series of issues known as neuromotor problems. They can be subtle at first but are more evident when a child is expected to reach milestones such as sitting up and crawling. Damage to the brain can impair control one has over their muscles and limbs. Some brain injuries can be diagnosed within a few days or less. Mild ones, however, can take longer and may not manifest for some time.

Physical symptoms range in severity as the types of damage do. Look for signs such as vomiting, fatigue/drowsiness, loss of consciousness, or balance problems. Even if a baby doesn’t lose consciousness, one with neurological damage may appear disoriented, dazed, or confused. Moderate to severe damage may cause dilated pupils or weakness in the extremities. Fluid might drain from the nose or ears and extended periods of unconsciousness are possible.


Elk & Elk

Most of the time, babies start crawling between seven and ten months of age, or they may shuffle around on their bottoms, roll on the floor, or slither on their stomach. At eight months, a baby should be able to sit and hold their head up without support. They should have no problem looking around or propping themselves up on their arms and legs. By ten months, they should figure out how to be mobile by pushing off with the knees.


Grasping ability is also something to monitor. A baby should show an intent to grasp with their hands by three months. This skill develops over time, and it can be a year before they successfully hold onto objects. But even a newborn should exhibit a grasping reflex, which is involuntary and instinctual.

Progressive Evidence

As a child gets older, the physical signs of brain damage can manifest in trouble walking, hopping, skipping, or running. Navigating stairs may be a challenge. Tying their shoes, getting dressed, or drawing may prove difficult as well.