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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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Pediatric Brain Injuries - Prognosis after Brain Injury

Infants who suffer brain birth injuries could have mild, moderate or severe damage. The prognosis for infants with birth brain injuries is variable.

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Children may experience a range of physical, cognitive and psychological concerns. The outcome depends greatly on the severity of the injury. The severity may be dependent on several factors such as:

  • How long the infant was without oxygen
  • Whether the oxygen deprivation was full or partial
  • Location of the portion of brain affected
  • Whether the infant received immediate treatment
  • The baby’s overall health condition
Elk & Elk

In general, the longer a baby goes without oxygen, the more severe the injuries are likely to be. Additionally, the injuries are more apt to be permanent the longer the baby suffered a lack of oxygen. An infant who was oxygen deprived could benefit from immediate cooling treatment. This treatment, also called neonatal therapeutic hypothermia, has been found to be helpful in reducing some of the impact of brain damage due to lack of oxygen if administered immediately after birth.

Potential Long-Term Prognosis

The long-term prognosis for children who suffered brain injuries at birth varies greatly from child to child. There may be a wide range of outcomes, and each child’s injury is different. Some of the possible :

  • Neurodevelopmental disabilities
  • Learning disabilities
  • Intellectual impairments
  • Attention deficit disorders
  • Developmental delays
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Behavioral problems
  • Seizures, epilepsy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Reduced bone mass (in non-ambulatory individuals)

The full extent of a child’s birth injury may not be immediately known. This is often true for babies who have only a mild or moderate birth injury. Only after a child starts to miss developmental milestones can the injury be completely evaluated. Milestones are categorized into five main areas of development including:

  • Gross motor skills
  • Fine motor skills
  • Language skills
  • Thinking skills
  • Social interaction skills

Although all children progress at different rates, there are some milestones that could indicate developmental problems. There are many milestones to review during each of many important periods of a child’s life.

Parents of children who suffered a birth brain injury should pay particular attention to these milestones. It is important to realize that a child could have delays in just one or several areas and not necessarily all of them. This is greatly dependant on the severity of the injury and the location in the brain that was affected.

Professional Evaluation

It is essential to have an injured child be evaluated by a professional. The evaluation should be done at various intervals in the child’s development. Immediate intervention begins with the diagnosis of the problem. Then, a comprehensive plan will be made to assist the child in his development. A life care plan is a tool that can be used by parents and others to provide for the physical and financial needs of a disabled child.

The plan should include details on how various situations should be handled. The plan may include such topics as medical needs, home care requirements, future medical treatments, educational needs, medications, diagnostics and therapy, transportation, special equipment and any other issues that are of importance to the child. Plans are best developed with input from the child’s physicians, physical therapist, teachers, and psychologists.

Each plan is different based on the specific needs of the child. For instance, a child with mild developmental delay may be able to be mainstreamed in school, while another child with a more severe cognitive disability may need to attend special needs education classes. The plan should regularly be reviewed to make any changes that are necessary based on new information or changes to the child’s developmental needs.