Infant Brain Damage Risk Factors

The Risk Factors: Infection

It is essential that pregnant women be diagnosed and treated for any infection, in order to prevent the infection from negatively impacting the fetus.  Leaving a maternal infection untreated can lead to serious problems. In particular, viral and bacterial infections can cause some of the greatest damage because it increases the protein levels within the child. As the protein levels increase, it causes inflammation within the brain that can lead to brain damage. Fortunately, this is a preventable risk factor that causes brain damage in infants.

Some of the maternal infections that you should be aware of include:

  • Chickenpox
  • Group B Streptococcus
  • Rubella
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Escherichia coli

Risk Factors During Birth

There are also some infant brain damage risk factors that can happen during birth. For example, you might suffer complications in the process of labor and delivery that can deprive your child of oxygen. Your child can only go without breathing for between three to five minutes before he will begin to experience some form of brain damage.

A breech delivery, for example, is an increased risk factor for children with cerebral palsy. With a child born breech first, they have four times the likelihood of developing CP over children born head first. Shoulder dystocia is another risk of suffering from resulting brain damage. This is because as the baby gets lodged at the mother’s pelvis, the baby’s risk of oxygen deprivation and a subsequent birth injury increases if the baby remains stuck for too long.

Initial presentation of the umbilical cord first during delivery is another cause of infant brain damage. The baby uses the umbilical cord to breathe when in the mother’s uterus, and if the umbilical cord suffers damage, it can lead to an increased risk of oxygen deprivation.

Awareness can go a long way toward preventing birth disorders, but still, not all are preventable. Unfortunately, even some of the most careful mothers can still have baby’s that suffer from brain damage. Yes, by understanding some of the baby brain damage risk factors, you can determine how to lower some of the greatest risks for your child. Keeping a close eye on your child after he or she is born can ensure that your baby receives medical care as soon as possible if you believe that something has gone wrong. Early diagnosis is crucial in providing adequate treatment.

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Elena Amato Borrelli, Expert

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