Childbirth is a transformative experience, whether it goes smoothly or not. Infants can sustain injuries to the brain during pregnancy, delivery, or post birth. If you’ve experienced a difficult pregnancy or labor, your child may have suffered a birth injury. Some problems are evident immediately, but others show no symptoms until years later. Recent studies have shown that children who sustain a brain injury are more severely impacted than adults, due to the fact that their brains are still developing.
If you experienced umbilical cord or placenta problems, or a prolonged period of pushing in which the baby was stuck and required physical interventions to pull the infant out of the birth canal, your child could have been deprived of oxygen, or suffered other injuries. Additional risk factors include: large or premature babies or abnormal birthing position.
Some physical symptoms may be present in infants, such as an abnormally sized head, misshapen spine, or distorted facial features. Other indicators include:
- Sleeping disorders
- Sensitivity to light
- Inability to walk, crawl, pull themselves up, use stairs, feeding and dressing themselves
- Changes in vision or hearing
Children who suffer brain injuries at birth often fail to meet developmental milestones. They struggle with attention, memory, language and information processing, emotional regulation, and socializing. As they grow, impairments to the child’s ability to communicate, think, learn, and develop socially appropriate behavior with other children and adults will become more apparent.
Caring for a child with a brain injury is expensive, due to the time and resources that parents have to dedicate to costly medical treatments, therapy and other interventions. Track developmental milestones and pay attention for any signs of birth injury as your child grows. If you suspect a possible birth injury, speak with an attorney and start getting your child the help they need, as early intervention is important for long term success.