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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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Pediatric Brain Injuries Mechanism of Brain Injury

A brain injury can occur before birth or during labor and delivery. A birth injury can happen for a number of reasons.

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When a baby or mother is in distress during labor, the infant could be deprived of oxygen. Lack of oxygen immediately begins to cause damage to the body’s organs. Some of the reasons why an injury can occur when a baby is born include:

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  • Failure to identify potential birth complications
  • Failure to properly monitor baby and mother’s oxygen levels
  • Failure to diagnose complications promptly
  • Prolonged or difficult labor
  • Failure to perform a C-section when needed
  • Failure to quickly treat complications
  • Improper use of birth assistance devices (forceps, vacuum)

These situations may be caused by the negligence of the doctor, nurse, or other medical staff. The mother and baby should be monitored during labor to make sure that the oxygen levels do not decline. If they do, it’s a sign of distress and an emergency situation.

If the medical professionals do not adequately recognize a problem or quickly take action, the results can be devastating. Although the baby may be monitored, the staff must pay attention to the information and be ready to provide fast treatment if a problem arises.

Brain Injuries

The body and all organs require oxygen to function properly. If the supply of oxygen is reduced or completely removed, brain cells begin to die. The longer the length of time without oxygen the more damage will occur. When the oxygen supply is returned, the brain begins to function normally, although some damage has already been done.

Damage to an infant’s brain may cause:

Infants with moderate to severe injuries may suffer from seizures. Neurological and physical injuries could range from mild to severe. The full extent of damage may not be fully known until the child begins to suffer developmental delays, particularly when the injury is mild to moderate in severity. Severe brain injuries could be life threatening. If the child survives, he could be permanently disabled.

Secondary Damage

Brain injuries due to lack of oxygen are two-fold. The first harm occurs initially during oxygen deprivation. The cells become damaged and begin to die. Once oxygen is returned to the brain, there could still be additional or secondary damage when toxins are released. This damage is responsible for more severe injuries.

Infant birth injuries are often quite serious. Complete diagnostic testing is necessary to find out the extent of the injuries. A determination should be made as to what caused the injury. In some cases, birth injuries are preventable.