Infant brain damage frequently occurs during the delivery process, but it can also happen during pregnancy or after birth.
Lack of oxygen may be the cause of infant brain damage, but other issues are equally critical. With proper medical care, however, infant brain damage may often be prevented.
Anoxia and hypoxia
Lack of oxygen following the birth is a major cause of infant brain damage. This serious issue affects as many as two out of every 1,000 infants. There are two categories: anoxia and hypoxia. The latter occurs when the baby is not getting enough oxygen. The former occurs when there is a complete lack of oxygen, which can lead to infant brain damage. Both problems can result in cerebral palsy as well as other disorders.
The problem of maternal infections
While maternal infections often happen during delivery, they can also build during pregnancy. The physician must be diligent in detecting, treating and monitoring infections so as to reduce the chances of infant brain damage.
Physical trauma during labor
Any physical trauma the baby suffers during labor and delivery can lead to brain damage. For example, if the physician pulls too hard or is not cautious enough when using tools such as forceps or a vacuum extraction tool, infant brain damage and other physical injuries could result.
Dropped glucose levels
The medical team should check the baby’s glucose levels after delivery is over, especially if the mother has had a long and difficult labor. If the levels are too low, the doctor must take corrective action immediately since a delay could cause brain damage.
A baby who suffers brain damage could face a lifetime of care. Added to the heartbreak for parents is the knowledge that no matter what the options are, care often comes at staggering expense. If medical negligence contributes to or causes infant brain damage, compensation may be available.