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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 – Treatment/Management

Treatment of a birth brain injury depends on various factors.

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The type and severity of an injury and its cause must be taken into consideration when determining a treatment plan. Some possible treatments include neonatal cooling therapy, surgery, and medications.

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  • Neonatal Cooling Therapy
    Neonatal cooling therapy is an important treatment because it may help to keep further brain damage from occurring. Cooling may be effective when it is completed immediately, no later than six hours after birth.

    Cooling treatment is done with either a specially designed cooling blanket for whole body cooling or with a cap for head cooling. The treatment is done in a neonatal intensive care unit that provides this type of specialized care and lasts for up to 72 hours.
  • Surgery
    Surgery is a treatment in some instances, especially where there is bleeding on the brain. There are a number of different types of hemorrhages that may occur, which depend on the location of the bleeding. Surgery may help relieve pressure caused by bleeding and swelling.
  • Medication
    Medication is another essential part of treatment. Seizure medication is especially necessary for infants who suffer moderate brain injuries at birth. Seizures may begin at any time and can make it difficult for the baby to function. Medication helps reduce the infant’s seizures but may not be required on an ongoing basis. Many times an infant’s seizures will subside after a few days, although some children will experience them throughout their lifetimes. Additional medication may be necessary to control brain bleeding, to stabilize heart rate and blood pressure, and to provide sedation while the infant is being evaluated in NICU.

Managing Pediatric Birth Injuries

Babies with pediatric birth brain injuries require continued follow-ups at various intervals.

There are a few treatments possible for infants with brain birth injuries. Management of injuries and symptoms becomes the focus of physicians and care providers. Symptoms can range greatly from patient to patient. Patients require various methods of ongoing management that depend on the on needs of each child.

Management may include working with a number of professionals and specialists in various areas of concentration such as:

  • Pediatrician
  • Rehabilitation professionals
  • Physiatrist
  • Speech therapist
  • Recreation therapist
  • Neuropsychologist
  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Social workers
  • Dieticians
  • Educators

The child’s needs must be determined, and a plan put in place to address all of the various concerns. The management of a brain injury must concentrate on the physical, psychological and emotional needs of the child. As the child grows and develops, these needs will likely change over time.

Additionally, management depends on where in the brain the injury occurred. The right hemisphere of the brain controls nonverbal communication, expression of emotions, recognition of visual patterns, and movement control for the left side of the body. The left hemisphere controls speech and language, thinking and memory and right side body movements. Rehabilitation is geared towards the specific needs of the child based on where the injury occurred.

Compensation strategies are taught to the child to build on a child’s strengths and compensate for the problems caused by birth injuries. Some areas to review include attention concentration problems, decision-making problems, difficulties starting or finishing a task, problems with self-control, problems with socializing and problems controlling emotions. Professionals work with children to manage these and any other symptoms that they may have.