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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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Families Change After Newborn BI

A brain injury at birth can occur without warning or any evidence of damage. Prolonged and difficult labor or issues with maternal blood pressure can lead to problems, such as oxygen deprivation, that lead to a brain injury.

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Regardless of the cause, the impacts on the family can be far reaching. A baby’s temperament and symptoms, and behavioral troubles later may keep them occupied, but from the very start, wondering how the injury will affect the child and how others are coping can increase the stress.

In addition, there is often a financial strain in dealing with the expenses related to treatment, care, and therapy. Family members may have to work more, or even give up work to spend more time tending to the child. Care and transportation costs can factor in as well.

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Emotional Effects on Families

Families dealing with a newborn brain injury have often discussed the emotions associated with it. Some have reported feeling a grieving process as if there was a grave loss. For others, it is so hard to bear they go into denial, not accepting the diagnosis or outcome stated by physicians, although improvements may occur quickly, slowly, or halt altogether at some point.

Feelings of guilt are possible if a parent believes they could have somehow prevented the injury. A parent may also feel regret if wondering whether one event happened or didn’t happen, that their child would have been better off. The sense of uncertainty, however, is one nobody can deny. The pace of progress can be variable, and all of the effects of a brain trauma are often not known until months or years after birth.

Impacts at the Hospital and Home

Keeping a baby at the hospital for a prolonged period can be a shock on families, expecting to take a healthy child home. Long days and nights at the facility can take a toll. Dealing with the hospital environment is stressful enough, but parents may be so preoccupied they forget their own needs. Their role as primary caretakers for the infant can be in question as well.

At home, the family organization may change. One parent may stop working, using that time to be a full-time caretaker. There may be professional caretakers present much of the time. Depending on the injury sustained at birth, the level of care may vary, and the length of time it is needed can as well.

Even if a child recovers quickly from symptoms, there may still be consequences later on. Associated events in one’s life can get in the way too. For example, considering what friends and other people think, potential media attention, and lawsuits can create stress and tension within the family. Relationships among immediate family members can be strained because parents may disagree regarding treatments, punishments, etc., or the ideals of parents and grandparents may conflict. Regardless of how extreme these issues are, there is bound to be change when a newborn comes into any family with a brain injury.