A brain hemorrhage is a rare but serious medical condition found in newborns. According to Medline Plus, the main causes of infant brain hemorrhages are a rupture of the veins in your baby’s brain causing blood to accumulate under their scalp. A brain hemorrhage can lead to serious complications including temporary or permanent brain damage.
Bleeding in and around your baby’s brain can be caused by a rupturing of blood vessels brought on by a birth injury, clotting issue, or significant illness. A brain hemorrhage, or subgaleal hemorrhage, can often be caused by a difficult, prolonged, or premature labor and delivery. A brain hemorrhage is also more likely to occur following instrumental delivery such as the use of vacuum extractors and other assistive birth devices.
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Assistive Birth Devices
Prior to using assistive delivery techniques, your doctor might recommend a C-section delivery or the use of specific medications to encourage your labor to progress. There are two types of assistive birth devices your doctor might choose to employ.
- Forceps Delivery – during a vaginal delivery, your doctor may use forceps to deliver your newborn if your labor is not progressing as it should. Forceps are a medical instrument that resembles a large pair of spoons or salad tongs. They help guide your baby’s head through the birth canal. Forceps are usually employed as you push during a contraction.
- Vacuum Extraction – during a vacuum extraction, your physician will use a vacuum device to assist your baby through the birth canal. The vacuum extractor is a medical instrument with a cup that can be either soft or rigid. The cup suctions as you push through a contraction. Your doctor may choose a vacuum extraction if your labor slows, stalls, or stops.
The Risks of Instrument Assisted Deliveries
Deliveries that use assistive instruments have certain risk factors. During a forceps delivery, your newborn is at risk of receiving minor facial injuries, temporary facial palsy, skull fractures, seizures, and bleeding in their skull. Similarly, during a vacuum extraction, your baby is at risk of suffering scalp wounds, shoulder dystocia, skull fractures, and bleeding in their skull.
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Your newborn may suffer from shoulder dystocia when their head emerges from the birth canal, but their shoulders become stuck which can require additional maneuvering to facilitate your baby’s delivery. According to a study published in the Journal of Prenatal Medicine, shoulder dystocia occurs most often in larger than usual infants. It can lead to fractures in your baby’s collarbone, fractures to their upper arm, or a brachial plexus injury. It can also lead to brain damage and in some cases might prove fatal.
What a Brachial Plexus Injury Is
Your baby’s brachial plexus is a network of nerves that control their spinal cord, shoulder, arm, and hand. A brachial plexus injury happens when this system of nerves is stretched, compressed, or torn away from the spinal cord. Infants sometimes suffer brachial plexus injuries during their labor, delivery, and birth. Typically, only the arm and hand on one side of your baby’s body will be affected.
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The Part of the Brain an Infant Brain Hemorrhage Occurs In
There are several types of bleeding that can occur in your baby’s brain. Bleeding can also occur in several areas of your baby’s brain. The main causes of infant brain hemorrhages might vary slightly according to brain hemorrhage type.
- In a subarachnoid hemorrhage, bleeding occurs below the innermost membranes that cover your baby’s brain. This is the most common type of brain hemorrhage in newborns and can cause apnea, seizures, or lethargy in the first few days of life.
- In a subdural hemorrhage, bleeding occurs between the inner and outer layers of the covering of your baby’s brain. This type of brain hemorrhage puts increased pressure on the surface of your infant’s brain and can cause your son or daughter to develop a seizure disorder.
- In an epidural hematoma, bleeding occurs between the outer layer of tissue covering your baby’s brain and their skull. An epidural hematoma can be caused by a skull fracture and might cause your baby’s soft spot to bulge. Newborns who suffer from an epidural hematoma may exhibit apnea and seizures.
If your newborn is the victim of a birth injury, they will be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit for close monitoring, supportive care, and other medical treatments that can help them maintain body function.
Birth Injury Lawsuit for an Infant Hemorrhage
An infant brain hemorrhage can leave your son or daughter with serious health consequences. Understanding the main causes of infant brain hemorrhages can help you understand your baby’s diagnosis and prognosis. It can also help you and your attorney understand who might be at fault for the birth injury that led to your child’s current condition.
When you are ready to seek financial compensation for the injury your infant suffered, an attorney can help you assign liability and seek compensation form the right party. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to schedule an evaluation of your case with an attorney near you today.