What is an Intracranial Hemorrhage?

Pregnancy can be both a terrifying and magical period. No mother going into labor wants to hear that her newborn baby has an illness or injury.

One of the complications that parents should be aware of is intracranial hemorrhage, also known as neonatal brain bleeds. Intracranial hemorrhage can range from the simple small bleeds to the severe ones. Simple neonatal brain bleeds require little treatment, while extremely severe ones require quick medical intervention.

What Causes Neonatal Brain Bleeds?

Neonatal brain bleeds occur when the blood vessels break and bleed into the infant’s brain tissues. It can be due to birth asphyxia, where the baby is deprived of oxygen during birth or birth trauma. Birth trauma can be brought upon by excessive mechanical force (with the use of vacuums or other tools) applied to the baby’s head. That said, intracranial hemorrhage in newborns is usually a result of medical negligence.

Other causes of brain bleeds are blood vessel abnormalities, such as aneurysm, and bleeding disorders in the baby.

What are the Risk Factors of Intracranial Hemorrhages?

These are the common factors that increase the risk of intracranial hemorrhage in the newborn baby.

  • The baby is premature.

Babies that are born at least 10 weeks earlier are more susceptible to brain bleeds. The smaller and the more premature the baby is, the higher is the risk. Blood vessels in premature babies have not yet fully developed. An infant’s blood vessels grow tougher in the last ten weeks of pregnancy.

  • The baby is larger than its gestational age.

Also known as macrosomia, it can make normal vaginal delivery dangerous for both the baby and the mother.

  • The baby’s head is larger than the mother’s pelvis.

Known as cephalopelvic disproportion, it poses the same problems as macrosomia, as the baby’s head is unnaturally big or the mother’s pelvis is unnaturally small.

  • Abnormal presentation of the fetus before birth

Instead of cephalic, the fetus may be in the face, brow, or breech position before birth.

  • The baby has unstable blood pressure.

Abnormal changes in the baby’s blood pressure put the baby at higher risk for brain bleeds.

  • The baby suffered trauma from prolonged labor.

Some medical interventions can cause trauma and brain bleeds to the baby. Improper use of forceps and vacuum extractors can cause intracranial hemorrhage to the baby. Forced breech delivery, as well as excessive pulling and twisting of the baby’s head, can also result in brain bleeds.

  • The baby has HIE.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a condition caused by decreased oxygen and blood flow to the baby. It can lead to brain damage and hypoxia, or damage to the baby’s organs.

Medical doctors should closely monitor the baby for any distress if any of the risk factors are present. Performing an emergency Caesarean section can help mitigate the risks of intracranial hemorrhage and other birth injuries.

What are the Signs of Intracranial Hemorrhages?

Signs and symptoms of neonatal brain bleeds can vary depending on the severity of the bleeding. Common symptoms reported for brain bleeds include:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Neonatal Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Trouble with movement
  • Strained or difficult breathing
  • Apnea or pauses in the baby’s breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • High-pitched cry
  • Pale coloring of the baby
  • Bulging in the soft spots of the baby’s head
  • Abnormal eye movement

How are Intracranial Hemorrhages Diagnosed?

Brain bleeds in newborns are more challenging to diagnose than in older children. Once intracranial hemorrhage is suspected, the doctors need to assess the health and state of the baby’s brain. The following tests may be performed in the newborn:

  • MRI/CT Scan: These scans are performed to get detailed workings of the baby’s brain. Doctors use these scans to detect brain bleeds.
  • Transcranial Doppler: This non-invasive test uses sound waves to measure overall blood flow in the baby’s brain.
  • Angiography: In this test, a thin tube is inserted into the blood vessels of the baby. Contrast dye is then inserted through the tube. The contrast dye illuminates the blood vessels while photographs are taken.

How are Neonatal Brain Bleeds Treated?

The treatment of the brain bleed will depend on the severity of the bleeding, as well as on other health factors. More severe hemorrhages may require surgery. Severe brain bleeds can result in developmental delays, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities.

Early detection is necessary so that treatment and therapy can begin sooner.

Did your Child Incur Birth Injuries Due to Malpractice? Contact The Clark Law Office Now.

If your child has sustained birth injuries because someone has been negligent, you may be eligible to claim compensation for medical malpractice or negligence. Intracranial hemorrhages sustained during birth can have lasting physical and mental effects on the baby. You can file a claim for support for your child’s lifelong treatment and therapy.

Call us now for a free legal consultation. Our expert birth trauma attorneys will review your case and help you build it.

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