Infant brain damage affects millions of babies each year. Infant brain damage can be caused by oxygen deprivation, jaundice, physical trauma suffered during labor and delivery, and the mother’s infections. The damage caused by such an injury, including oxygen deprivation, can range from moderate to severe and cause physical and cognitive damage.
Oxygen deprivation leading to infant brain damage
Oxygen deprivation occurs in about four of every 1,000 full term births. Premature babies are at higher risk of being injured by oxygen deprivation. Even a few minutes of oxygen deprivation can lead to brain damage and disorders such as cerebral palsy, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and impaired vision.
There are several causes of oxygen deprivation in babies, including issues with the umbilical cord including wrapping around the neck of the baby, blocked or constricted airways, the placenta separates from the uterus too early, and getting stuck in the birth canal during delivery. These problems can be prevented if the healthcare provider is diligent in monitoring and treating fetal distress timely.
According to the Seattle Children’s Hospital, two stages of injury can occur in cases of oxygen deprivation. The first stage involves brain cell damage that occurs within the first few minutes of oxygen deprivation due to lack of blood flow and oxygen. The second stage, reperfusion injury, occurs after the flow of blood and oxygen is restored. Reperfusion injuries may last for periods of time ranging from a few days to several weeks.
Babies whose brain cells were deprived of oxygen for long periods, which can be a matter of minutes, are more likely to suffer permanent damage to their brain, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, digestive organs, kidneys, and more.
Oxygen deprivation can lead to complete organ failure and death.
Physical Trauma during delivery can cause infant brain damage
According to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, birth-related brain injuries are the leading cause of cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities in the United States. During birth, babies are most at risk of suffering brain injuries, especially if they are premature.
During labor and delivery, medical mistakes and trauma can lead to infant brain damage. For example, if a doctor doesn’t use forceps or vacuums properly, it may lead to brain damage due to improper placement and use of the tools on the infant’s head. Physical trauma can also occur if the delivery is performed too quickly.
Other examples of physical trauma include a protracted, difficult delivery that may lead to head and brain trauma as the baby’s head hits against the mother’s pelvic bone. Also, excessive twisting and pulling during a difficult labor can cause injury to the baby. Learn more about birth injuries.
If your child has been injured during childbirth as a result of medical malpractice, contact Chelsie King Garza for a free consultation today.