Birth Injury Signs And Symptoms: What Should You Look For?
Childbirth is an overwhelming experience in a parent’s life. For this reason, new parents, especially first-time mothers, read up on the possible threats and mishaps that may happen during delivery. While it is good to be well-versed about different conditions, please do not cause yourself unwanted stress. Studies show that only about seven birth injuries occur for every 1000 children born in the United States. It sounds worrisome, but most birth injuries show themselves early, so you can get them treated immediately to avoid them affecting your child’s life.
What is a birth injury?
Any physical or mental harm caused before, during or, shortly after delivery is considered a birth injury. Some of the injuries are easily detected, whereas others might need a series of tests to confirm. The less severe injuries become better even without treatment and medications than the more fatal ones, which might lead to a lifetime of disability. Several factors may cause an injury at birth:
- Fetal health issues – includes oxygen deprivation (hypoxia), suffocation (asphyxia), loss of blood flow, or an infection.
- Maternal health issues – owing to obesity, diabetes or, an underlying infection.
- External factors like medical malpractice or negligence – can be caused due to aggressive use of vacuum extractors, forceful misuse of forceps, or improper medication to the mother before delivery.
If you believe the injury is due to avoidable medical malpractice, you can take legal action by contacting the Birth Injury Justice Center. Conditions like Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy are the two most common brain injuries caused by medical negligence at birth.
Birth injuries can either be physical or mental. The symptoms and signs vary from child to child. However, the frequently occurring symptoms can help detect the condition early. Remember that not every symptom means a birth injury has occurred; however, it can play an essential role in alerting the doctor.
The first few you should watch out for are symptoms like a bruise or an abnormal swelling on the face, facial nerve injury, excessive drooling, and uncontrollable crying. Other signs that need uninterrupted and immediate attention include low oxygen and heart rate. There is a high chance that if your child is exhibiting these factors, he has suffered from a nerve injury that might lead to cerebral palsy. Weak reflexes and muscle strength, skull fractures and seizure episodes within 48 hours of birth also indicate that brain damage may have occurred. Therefore, it is best to reach out for help at your earliest to ensure that your child receives the best diagnosis and care they deserve.
Not every symptom becomes noticeable immediately; some symptoms develop over time and lead to an inability that will likely last a lifetime. Blindness and deafness are two of the many symptoms that may surface with time.
Here are a few symptoms to keep an eye out for during your child’s toddlerhood.
Symptoms to look for at 1 to 2 years of age
Parents and caretakers best understand the health and growth of their child; therefore, they can be the first to detect the symptoms that might develop and become apparent a year or two after birth. Childbirth injury symptoms that lead to brain or nerve damage become noticeable when a child starts missing out on developmental milestones. These symptoms include:
- Inability to move a particular body part (ataxia)
- Tolerant to extremely bright light (doesn’t blink)
- Difficulty in grasping, holding objects, bringing things to mouth
- Weak or missing response to loud noises (doesn’t move the head in the direction of noise)
- Inability to sit up or roll over without help
- Inability to crawl, walk or stand without assistance
- Delay in speech or zero speech development
- Low memory retention and short attention spans
If your child is showing most of these symptoms, there is a risk they may have sustained an injury at birth. Please get in touch with their doctor for a thorough diagnosis and a treatment plan to follow.
What should I do if I suspect my child has a birth injury?
First and foremost, do not lose it! Book yourself an appointment with the doctor and be ready with a list of symptoms you have observed over time. A doctor will conduct physical tests, imaging, hearing, vision and, intellectual exams to diagnose the condition at hand. The sooner your child receives treatment, the better are the chances of managing his symptoms. Love and care can enable your child to lead a healthy and independent life.
What does a treatment plan look like?
After a prompt and accurate diagnosis, the treatment plan will depend upon the severity of the symptoms, your child’s age and, condition. Generally, the treatment plan includes therapy, medications or, surgery.
As a parent, it is justified for you to feel overwhelmed, confused and, scared in this situation. Just remember that seeking help will take you one step closer to choosing a better life for your child.