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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 - Fatigue

Millions of infant’s experience brain injuries (BI) each year. This can lead to brain damage and long-term neurological issues. Many cases of BI in babies are caused by trauma to the head during labor and delivery.

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This can happen if vacuums or forceps employed to remove the baby are used improperly. During long labors, the infants head can strike the pelvic bone over and over, causing head trauma. Also, the baby’s brain can be damaged if the attending physician pulls or twists too hard while assisting with a difficult birth.

Birth brain injury is not always diagnosed immediately. Some symptoms are hard to detect in a newborn infant, and some of the neurological complications can be delayed. Manifestations, such as fatigue, may not show up right away.

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Fatigue is a particularly difficult symptom to notice. A typical, healthy newborn will sleep 16 to 17 hours each day. However, there is no set sleeping pattern in the first few months. Babies three months and under have sleep cycles that are far shorter than adults. They sleep for a few hours at a time, waking periodically throughout the night.

An infant with BI might seem listless or lethargic. On the other hand, the baby might also display excessive fussiness or uncontrollable crying. A lethargic or listless infant will have very little energy. They act sluggish or drowsy when awake. They are not alert and don’t notice auditory or visual stimulation. Fatigued infants will sleep for longer periods than is normal, and are difficult to wake for feedings. Fatigue can develop slowly over time, so it might be difficult to recognize.

Young infants’ sleep cycles are so erratic that it is hard to tell if a change in sleep patterns is a normal shift or a sign of BI. Keep a log to track when your baby sleeps and wakes. If you think your baby is sleeping too much or too little, talk to your child’s doctor.

Other Symptoms

Additional symptoms may also arise from birth BI. Talk to your pediatrician, if you notice that your infant has seizures, poor eye focus, an abnormally large forehead, an unusually small head, or distorted facial features. Infants with BI might also have an abnormal temperament. Watch out for troubles with eating or sleeping and excessive crying or fussiness for no reason.