When you are told your newborn suffers from a brain bleed, one of the first things you will want to know is how brain bleeds in babies are diagnosed. Typically, a head ultrasound is recommended for all babies born prior to the thirtieth week of pregnancy. This routine head ultrasound is performed once in the first two weeks after your baby’s birth and is repeated around the time of your original due date.
In addition to these ultrasounds, a computerized tomography (CT) scan of the head is also recommended if your baby was full term but exhibited symptoms like a difficult birth, low blood count, or indications of bleeding in the brain. Brain bleeds diagnosed soon after your baby’s birth might lead to more favorable outcomes than later diagnoses.
A CT Scan of the Head
When brain bleeds in babies are diagnosed, one of the diagnostic tools your baby’s doctor might choose is a computerized tomography (CT) scan. This CT scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from a variety of angles. The varying angles and vantage points of these images create cross-sectional pictures of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside your baby’s body. A CT scan provides images with significantly more detail than standard X-rays.
Symptoms of Brain Bleeds You Should Look for in Your Newborn
Some newborns may suffer from a brain bleed without showing any signs or symptoms at all. When your newborn does display symptoms of a brain bleed or hemorrhage, they may include one or more of the following:
- Apnea (pauses in your baby’s breathing pattern)
- A decrease in your baby’s muscle tone
- A noticeable decrease in your baby’s natural reflexes
- Excessive sleepiness and persistent lethargy
- Weak sucking, seizures, and other abnormal movements
If you notice any of these symptoms, notify your doctor and your baby’s doctor as soon as possible.
Treatment Options Available for Brain Bleeds in Babies
Depending on the kind of brain bleed your baby has, there may be no treatment options other than making your baby stable and treating their symptoms. In some cases, your son or daughter might need a blood transfusion to improve their blood pressure and blood count.
If fluid creates pressure on your baby’s brain, a spinal tap might be performed to drain the fluid and relieve pressure. If this proves successful, your child’s doctor might recommend surgery to insert a shunt in their brain to continually drain fluid. Talk to your baby’s medical team for a detailed explanation of their proposed treatment plan.
The Effects Brain Bleeds Have on My Child’s Future
When a brain bleed is diagnosed in your son or daughter, their prognosis for the future is uppermost on your mind. How well your baby recovers will depend on the severity of their brain bleed. Infants with low levels of brain bleeds may not experience any serious complications. Infants with more severe brain bleeds might experience developmental delays and have trouble controlling their movements as they grow and develop.
Children reach developmental milestones as they play, learn, talk, and behave. These milestones and benchmarks include crawling, walking, talking, and other areas of fine and gross motor skills. Your child will be diagnosed with developmental delays when your doctor notices that they fail to meet expected developmental milestones. They might fall behind their peers in actions like smiling for the first time, waving goodbye, crawling, and walking.
The Causes of Brain Bleeds on My Infant
When a brain bleeds in babies is diagnosed, more often it occurs in premature babies than in full-term babies. An intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) is one type of brain bleed that results in bleeding into the fluid-filled areas inside your baby’s brain.
Another type of bleeding in the brain is a subarachnoid hemorrhage that causes bleeding below the two innermost membranes that cover your baby’s brain. If your baby’s brain bleed is a subdural hemorrhage, bleeding will occur between the outer and inner layers of their brain’s covering. Brain bleeds might be caused by immature blood vessels in your baby’s fragile brain, unstable blood pressure, the use of forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery, or respiratory distress.
Birth Injury Lawsuits for Your Newborn’s Brain Bleed
It can be a shock and a challenge when your dream of a healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery is marred by the news that your newborn suffered a brain bleed. Brain bleeds in babies diagnosed at or soon after birth can leave you with a long list of questions and a large stack of medical bills.
When your newborn is diagnosed with a brain bleed that you believe may have been caused by a birth injury, consult an attorney who can help you hold the right people accountable for their role in your baby’s injuries. Contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a birth injury lawyer in your area.