Cerebral Palsy Blog

Cerebral Palsy Blog

Doctors Urged to Consider All Causes of Birth Brain Injury

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A statement by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics urges doctors to consider all possible causes of a child's newborn brain injury.

The joint statement issues new guidelines for doctors involving neonatal encephalopathy, which is the medical term for newborn brain injury. The new guidelines require doctors to consider every possible factor that could have caused the brain injury.

Many cases of newborn brain injury involve problems that occur during the labor or delivery process. One of the major risks during this time is the risk of hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation to the child. Such oxygen deprivation ranges all the way from mild deprivation that can result in mild injury, to severe oxygen deprivation in which case the child may be at risk of developmental delays, and conditions like cerebral palsy.

Although most cases of newborn brain injury have to do with labor and delivery process, the joint statement by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics says that doctors present in the delivery room must also consider other factors, including the mother's medical history and birth defects. Although these account for a smaller proportion of the number of cases of birth brain injury that occur every year, the extent of damage that is caused to the baby can be very severe.

According to the joint statement, considering all possible causes can provide more data that could result in the development of effective prevention strategies to reduce the number of children born with birth injuries every year. The guidelines urge doctors to use neonatal birth imaging technologies as well as new treatment technologies to work quickly to reduce the risk of long-term brain injury to the baby. The groups are also calling for the presence of pediatricians in labor rooms to detect brain injury in time.

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