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

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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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Brain Injury and Allocation of Limited Resources – Physical Symptoms

When a baby suffers brain damage, it can impress long-lasting and devastating effects on his or her life.

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Where there are a range of potential causes for the brain damage, such as a long labor period, physical trauma, and oxygen deprivation, being able to identify the signs of a problem will help to make sure that your baby receives care and treatment as soon as possible to minimize the potential for death or permanent disability.

Several symptoms of infant brain damage may be noticeable within a few minutes or hours of birth. But, there are those that can take years to become apparent. The most common symptoms that brain damage could have occurred that are noticeable soon after birth include:

Elk & Elk
  • Incessant crying
  • A forehead that seems to be abnormally large
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty sleeping when the baby is lying flat
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • A head that looks to be much smaller than other babies
  • Difficulties with feeding
  • Extreme fussiness for no apparent reason or cause
  • An abnormally-shaped spine

While the above are the most common symptoms or signs of brain damage that become apparent soon after birth, it must be noted that not all are present in every case.

Other Physical Symptoms of Baby Brain Damage

There are other symptoms that show a potential for baby brain damage that may not become noticeable until your child starts to miss developmental milestones. In such cases, the symptoms of brain injury can affect perceptual, emotional, cognitive, and physical abilities.

The physical symptoms of a baby with a brain injury can include a range of issues and developmental delays. The most common issues tend to include:

  • Tremors
  • Severe sleeping difficulties
  • Paralysis
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive lethargy or tiredness

Developmental Delays

The symptoms of brain injury are usually calculated in a couple of different ways. As the baby grows up, further physical symptoms may manifest. While some of these physical indicators may be hard to diagnose, such as headaches, there are others that are often more obvious. These physical symptoms often include missing developmental milestones such as:

  • Walking
  • Crawling
  • Skipping and hopping
  • Pulling themselves up without help
  • Running
  • Sitting up alone
  • Feeding without assistance
  • Tying shoes alone
  • Coloring and drawing unaided
  • Getting dressed unaided
  • Holding objects with a firm grasp and without dropping them

How Is a Baby Brain Injury Diagnosed?

The majority of baby brain injury cases are diagnosed by observing physical symptoms and telltale signs along with a CT or MRI scan. Both of these scans provide medical images of the brain and will give the doctor an idea whether there is a skull fracture or brain hemorrhage. Further, an EEG may be requested which calculates the brain’s electric pathways to ensure that communications are strong and normal.

Assessing a baby’s mental symptoms is, of course, more difficult compared to older children and adults. That is why a CT scan is only recommended if an assessment shows that the baby has less than a score of 15 on the Glasgow Coma Scale. This Scale is a neurological scale that provides a reliable recording of a person’s conscious state. Typically, babies are scored on a scale of 3 through to 15. Most people with a score of 15 who also have a CT scan are often under the age of three months.

There may be other signs or symptoms related to a baby’s abnormal development, too. If you do notice any of the physical symptoms in your baby, you need to seek assistance from a medical professional.