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While in the delivery room, parents can become so caught up in the excitement surrounding the birth of their child that they may not be looking for signs that something has gone wrong. Oftentimes, parents begin to re-think what happened during birth only after noticing that something doesn’t seem quite right with the way their child is developing.
If your child has missed any important development milestones or is showing signs of physical or cognitive distress, this may be an indication that brain or nerve damage occurred during the labor process.
There are various warning signs that parents and caregivers can look for in order to detect if an injury occurred at birth – and if someone (such as the medical team or hospital) can be held accountable for negligence.
A birth injury is any type of brain or nerve damage that occurs before, during or shortly after the birthing process. Birth injuries occur most often while the baby is still in the mother’s womb. These cases can be the result of various things, such as alcohol use or an infection during pregnancy. However, there are a number of birth injury cases that take place in the delivery room — many of which are considered to be preventable.
A preventable birth injury can be caused by a number of things, including:
There are four basic types of brain damage related to a birth injury, including hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), intracranial hemorrhages, periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) and cerebral dysgenesis. While the exact cause of these various forms of brain damage can differ, they all exhibit similar symptoms that parents should be aware of as their child grows and develops.
Some symptoms of a birth injury are immediately recognizable, while others can take months or years to be recognized.
Parents typically have the most intimate knowledge of their children’s health and development and they are an important resource in determining if an injury could have occurred during birth. For this reason, it is important for parents and caregivers to monitor their child’s development from birth through toddlerhood and take careful note of any abnormalities or delays.
There are a few signs of a birth injury that present themselves directly after the child is born. While not all of the following symptoms may be a conclusive indication that a birth injury has occurred, they can serve as an important sign that some form of damage may have taken place during delivery.
Symptoms of a birth injury to look for immediately following birth include:
If your child exhibited any of the above symptoms immediately after birth, this may be a warning sign of a condition related to brain or nerve damage, such as cerebral palsy. It is important to address any abnormalities you observe in your child as soon as they come to your attention. This will provide your child with the best chance of receiving the individualized care they need.
While some symptoms of a birth injury present themselves immediately after delivery, others may take 1-2 years to fully develop. Symptoms of a birth injury usually become most obvious when children miss important developmental milestones or show physical signs of brain or nerve damage.
Symptoms of a birth injury to look for between 12-24 months of age include:
If you notice that your child is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, this may be a sign of brain or nerve damage that occurred during birth. A further diagnosis related to your child’s condition can come from imaging tests, hearing tests, vision tests and intellectual tests.
Not all birth injuries will be recognizable within the first 2 years. Many times, symptoms will only become identifiable once a child enters preschool or elementary school and begin to display an obvious delay in their physical and cognitive development when compared to their peers.
Symptoms to look for after 2 years of age include:
If you notice that your child has any of the above symptoms after 2 years of age, consult a specialist who can further determine the state of your child’s condition and the appropriate treatment methods.
From a child’s first breath to their first day of school, parents will generally have the most interaction with their child and their physical and cognitive progress. Even if symptoms weren’t immediately apparent after delivery, signs of brain or nerve damage can begin to show themselves as the child gets older.
If you are concerned that your child’s cerebral palsy or other related neurological condition is the result of a birth injury, the best way to determine this is by contacting medical professionals who can conduct various tests in order to form a diagnosis.
Detecting the symptoms of a birth injury are not always easy and this process ultimately requires the expertise of a neurologist or brain injury specialist. They will be able to use test results and observational analysis to determine if and when any brain or nerve damage occurred, and the best steps to take to ensure that your child lives a happy, healthy life.
Filing a birth injury lawsuit can open the doors to receiving valuable financial assistance for your child’s treatments. If you suspect that your child’s cerebral palsy is due to medical negligence, contact our legal team today for a free case evaluation.