When your child is diagnosed with a brain injury, you undoubtedly have a lot of questions. How could this happen? How will your child develop compared to other children? What will life look like 10 years from now? We understand that discovering your child’s birth injury is extremely stressful, even heartbreaking. That’s why we put together this parent’s guide to infant brain injuries to help you through this difficult time.
Infant Brain Injuries Explained
A birth injury is any injury impacting a child either immediately before labor, during birth, or within the first six weeks after a baby is born. Birth injuries can impact any part of the body, though brain injuries are more common.
Infants are more susceptible to trauma-induced brain injuries because of their soft spots, places where the skull has not fully formed. Any injury or pressure to the baby’s head significantly increases the risk of brain damage. At the same time, the baby is particularly susceptible to brain injuries caused by oxygen deprivation, especially from stopped labor or unmonitored maternal blood pressure.
Causes of Infant Brain Injuries
There are many causes of infant brain injuries. Some of the most common contributing factors include:
- Extremely high maternal blood pressure, especially during delivery.
- Placental abruption detaches the placenta from the uterus, cutting the baby off from oxygen.
- Powerful contractions caused by labor-inducing drugs, like Pitocin.
- Labor comes to a halt and doctors wait too long before a C-section.
- Improper use of forceps or suction-assisted delivery.
If you suspect any of these factors played a part in your child’s brain injury, you should contact an experienced birth injury attorney immediately.
Symptoms of an Infant Brain Injury
Generally speaking, no two brain injuries are alike. The brain is extremely complex and will attempt to wire itself around the brain injury. This causes a wide range of symptoms which vary from child to child.
That said, a few typical symptoms parents can expect include:
Low muscle tone
Remember that no two injuries are exactly the same, if you suspect your child suffered a birth injury and their symptoms don’t match those here, you should consult your pediatrician and a birth injury attorney.
Raising a Child With a Brain Injury
Many parents wonder how a child with a brain injury will develop when compared to other children. If your child is diagnosed with a brain injury, it’s crucial that you remain patient with them and understand that they may not meet developmental milestones at the same pace as other children. In some cases, they may miss milestones altogether.
Often, babies with brain injuries do not laugh or smile and some do not respond to play. They may also have difficulty grasping, speaking, and walking. These steps may be delayed or your child may miss them altogether. The important thing is to remain calm and establish a plan of action with your pediatrician.
As your child reaches school age, you may find that they struggle to read or solve mathematical equations. In some cases, they may have memory loss that makes it harder to difficult to memorize facts and instructions. In these situations, it’s important that you spend extra time reviewing school work with your child to give them the best chance at mastering the information.
When considering your child’s future, remember that children with disabilities have more opportunities now than at any point in human history. Your child’s brain injury does not have to define their life’s story. The best way you can influence your child’s future is to set them up for success as early as possible with regular tutoring and therapy sessions.
Support For Children With Brain Injuries
In cases of a severe or debilitating brain injury, the best thing you can do is ensure your child is comfortable. Many parents struggle to cover annual medical bills for brain injury treatments, which is why it’s especially important to consider options like applying for children’s social security disability insurance if the symptoms are particularly severe.
If your child’s brain injury was the result of medical negligence in the delivery room, you should contact a birth injury attorney. They can help you pursue the justice your family needs to move forward and provide a comfortable lifestyle for your child.
If your child was diagnosed with a brain injury, we are here for you. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice attorney from The Mabrey Firm, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (404) 814-5098 or send us an email.