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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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The Not So Good Days

A day in the life of a parent with a brain-injured infant has many challenges. It can be difficult to get the baby to nurse, as they may be finicky, or have trouble sucking or swallowing.

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They may also cry persistently and nothing done to console them will seem to work. The day can be filled with constant worry and uncertainty as to what to do to help.

Babies often have irregular sleeping habits. They wake up at any time, for many reasons. An infant can be hungry, need cleaning, or experience some sort of discomfort. But if it has symptoms that cannot be communicated and no method of consolation works, stress on parents can be extreme. A baby may be awake day and night, but the not so good days can be filled with other concerns as well.

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Medical Issues Associated with Birth Brain Injuries

  • Seizures: Infants with brain injuries may suffer from seizures. These can develop into epilepsy, and any seizure can lead to a wide range of complications. They vary in frequency and intensity depending on the child. An exact cause may be elusive, but the situation warrants further medical investigation and treatment. Doctors often try multiple medications before finding something that works.
  • Fluid buildup: Other medical problems can affect the course of any day. A child with a birth brain injury or damage to nerve tissues or blood vessels can experience fluid buildup in the brain’s ventricles. When cerebrospinal fluid builds up, it can be very serious, causing pressure and swelling that can cause further brain damage. Any infant suspected of such fluid build up will need to be hospitalized.
  • Infections: A baby with wounds suffered during birth, or skull fractures, is prone to infections. These can affect the skin, protective tissue layers around the brain, or the brain itself. Bacterial infections can cause severe damage and even spread through the nervous system and body. High fever, swelling, and other signs of infection make any day challenging, and there is no other choice than to get immediate medical attention.

A Day at the Hospital

Infants with birth brain injuries typically require constant monitoring. Any day may be filled with testing, including computerized tomography scans and magnetic resonance imaging scans. Some babies have an intracranial pressure monitor implanted to keep constant track of tissue swelling. Medications such as diuretics to reduce brain pressure from the fluid, reduce the incidence of seizures, and even induce a coma to limit the amount of oxygen brain cells need may be administered.

Some days, therefore, may be filled with anxiety about what is to come from one moment to another, let alone how the injury will affect the child’s development.

Even in cases of mild brain damage, the baby’s behavior can be unpredictable. They may be calm and act relatively normal some days, but on a not so good day, may be fussy for reasons that aren’t apparent. The uncertainty is still extreme because the slightest damage to a brain not fully developed can cause serious disabilities later. Parents often don’t see these for several years, so any day, good or bad, comes with the concern for what may be to come.