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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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Delayed Neurological Complications after Head Trauma

Birth Brain Injury (BI) can happen in two different ways—blunt force or difficult labor. Blunt force head trauma can be caused by improper use of forceps or other medical neglect.

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Difficult or extended labor can lead to the baby’s brain being compressed in the birth canal or cause loss of oxygen to the infant at some point during labor.

Delayed Complications

The injury isn’t always immediately apparent as BI can have delayed complications. Some Infants with brain damage might show certain manifestations right away, such as an abnormal temperament, excessive crying, and difficulty sleeping or feeding. Other symptoms can show up several years after the initial injury occurred. Later complications of BI may become evident once the child should be reaching developmental milestones. The child may exhibit delays in physical, cognitive, behavioral, or emotional development.

Elk & Elk

A healthy brain will face increasingly difficult challenges as the child grows. For example, babies learn to babble before they talk or read. For children with BI, however, their brains may not be equipped to handle the increased demands of development. Delayed neurological complications cause real problems in diagnosing BI due to a lapse of time between the inciting incident and the onset of symptoms. Parents and doctors might not recognize or connect brain birth injury to the developmental delays they are seeing.

Understanding Symptoms

As children grow, parents and physician expect them to reach certain developmental milestones. If your child is not attaining these skills as expected, a doctor may diagnose it as a developmental delay. The cause of the delay may not be immediately apparent as brain injury. These delayed complications after head trauma can include learning disabilities such as ADHD or Autism. The symptoms can manifest themselves in a variety of ways including perceptual, cognitive, and physical delays.

Perceptual Complications

Perceptual problems can be the most difficult to diagnose, especially in small children, toddlers, and infants who can’t describe what they are experiencing. Symptoms can be things such as heightened sensitivity to pain, changes in hearing or vision, or spatial disorientation.

Cognitive Complications

Cognitive delays might result in abnormalities in areas related to thinking and comprehension. Delayed areas include concentration and attention, communication, controlling impulses, processing information, and memory.

Physical Complications

The manifestation of physical symptoms varies based on the age of the patient and the severity of the head trauma. Areas to watch out for include trouble sleeping and eating, sensitivity to light, extreme fatigue, tremors, and paralysis. Children with BI may also miss certain developmental milestones such as:

  • Grasping
  • Drawing or coloring
  • Sitting up alone
  • Feeding self
  • Crawling
  • Pulling up
  • Walking