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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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What Happens When a Brain Bleeds

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What Happens When a Brain Bleeds?

As a new parent, finding out that your new born baby has an injury or illness can be devastating. But, in terms of brain bleeds, making such a discovery can become utterly overwhelming and terrifying with a fear of life-long complications. One of the best things for you as a parent is understanding. That is, understanding brain bleeds in babies, the cause, and your treatment options.

Elk & Elk

An Overview

Bleeds on the brain can vary from smaller bleeds that do not require a great deal of treatment, to severe bleeds that result in compression or tissue damage and require immediate medical intervention.

Depending on the location of the bleed and the cause of the bleed, there are different medical terms for such bleeding. Common terms that you may have come across include intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), subarachnoid hemorrhage, and intracranial hemorrhage. Below is a brief summary of the differences between the terms:

  • Intraventricular hemorrhages occur when there is bleeding into the baby’s ventricles of the brain.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhages happen when the baby experiences bleeding in the space between the brain itself and the membrane surrounding it.
  • Intracranial hemorrhages happen when bleeding occurs between the brain and the skull, or any part of the brain itself.

What Causes it in a Baby?

There are a number of factors that may contribute to a brain bleed in a baby. Some of the most typical causes include:

  • Blood or bleeding disorders
  • Abnormalities of the blood vessels, such as weakened blood vessels, malformation, or an aneurysm
  • A head injury or trauma either before or during birth

What Are the Symptoms in a Baby?

The most common symptoms of brain bleeds include:

  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Stiff neck
  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Trouble with speech, movement, or vision
  • Confusion
  • Severe headache
  • Personality or mood changes

Which Tests Can Diagnose These?

The best tests for a baby are an MRI and a head CT scan. Both of these provide medical imaging of your baby’s brain, which helps physicians see where the bleeding is affecting dying blood cells and where the original blood vessel may have burst. Doctors can then determine how to conduct surgery to close off the hemorrhage, cease the bleeding, and prevent other brain cells dying off.

Can They Be Prevented?

If the brain bleed happened as a result of blunt force trauma or a medical mistake during the birth, it can almost always be prevented. Unless your baby has a rare genetic mutation that involved blood disease, liver disease, or abnormal brain cells, it is up to the doctor to treat hypertension in both you and your baby, and an infant should never be dropped or hit.

How Is a Brain Bleed Treated?

Typically, a hemorrhage is treated with brain surgery. Surgery is necessary to close off the hemorrhage and stop the bleeding.

As a parent, you never want your baby to have to go through emergency brain surgery, but he or she could die without it.