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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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Understanding the Difference between Brain Injuries and Birth Defects

When a baby is born, the parents are usually excited to meet their new little one. However, there are some cases where a baby’s birth is greeted more with concern than joy.

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If a newborn is not considered to be “normal,” one of the first tasks for the medical team will be diagnosing the problem. Sometimes, the issue is not identified until days or weeks after the baby’s birth. The cause of the medical condition is generally either a birth defect or a brain injury. If you have a baby with a medical problem, you should understand the difference between the two.

Defining Birth Defects

A birth defect is something that happens naturally. There may be issues with the mother’s health or biology, or it may be another medical condition that develops in the baby while it is still in the womb. It may be caused by a genetic problem or because of the mother’s actions. For instance, drinking alcohol or smoking has been shown to cause birth defects. Even prescription medications can lead to birth defects.

Some common birth defects include the following:

Elk & Elk
  • Down syndrome
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Sickle-cell disease
  • Spina Bifida

There are many others as well, some of them rare. Many times, birth defects can be detected before the child is born through special testing. Some of these defects can be corrected while others will be dealt with throughout the child’s life.

Defining Birth Injuries

A birth injury usually occurs during the delivery. It usually happens because of a medical error, which could have been prevented. Some of them occur from negligence on the part of the medical staff while others happen due to an action the doctor takes.

Two of the most common causes of birth injuries include the following:

  • Prolonged Labor – when a mother is in labor for too long, it may cause the baby to suffer from a lack of oxygen, which can lead to brain injury. In some cases, this problem results from negligence by the medical staff because they failed to adequately monitor the mother during her labor.
  • Assisted Delivery – when a baby is delayed in being born, a doctor may assist with the birth. The two most used tools are vacuums and forceps. Either one of these tools can put too much pressure on the baby’s body, causing injury.

Some of the most common birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Brachial plexus
  • Brain damage
  • Broken bones
  • Shoulder dystocia