Can Cerebral Palsy Be Caused by a Head Injury?

Causes of Cerebral Palsy, Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis, Legal Help

Newborn with bandaged head in NICU

There are many different factors that can cause cerebral palsy in babies. In certain cases, cerebral palsy in infants may be the result of a traumatic brain injury that causes irreparable damage to a baby’s undeveloped brain. Traumatic brain damage that occurs during the labor and delivery process is considered a severe medical issue. Read on to learn how head injuries at birth can cause cerebral palsy, and how they can be prevented.

Traumatic Brain Injuries and Brain Damage Causes

First, it’s important to understand the difference between a brain injury that happens before birth and one that happens during or after birth. A congenital brain injury occurs before birth, while the baby is still in the womb. This type of brain injury can be caused a few different ways, including:

  • Umbilical cord issues, which lead to oxygen deprivation
  • Placenta problems
  • Undiagnosed and/or untreated maternal infections

On the other hand, although they’re rare, traumatic brain injuries do occur during childbirth, often as the result of medical negligence or carelessness that causes external trauma, such as excessive pressure to the head.

An example of this would be a doctor who uses a birthing tool, such as forceps or a vacuum extraction tool, with too much force, or uses it improperly, which can cause serious damage to a newborn’s sensitive head. Another example, although extremely rare, is when an infant is dropped by a physician or nurse. Head injuries to an infant can lead to a number of conditions, including cerebral palsy.

Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injuries and Damage

Traumatic brain injury at birth can lead to a number of different conditions — one of which is cerebral palsy, a motor disorder that affects movement and muscle tone or posture. Cerebral palsy causes poor muscle control and coordination in babies, which results in difficulty and delay with milestones such as holding up the head, rolling over, walking, and the like.

If a baby is diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of a traumatic brain injury, the condition will last for the rest of their life. As the baby grows older, the condition may manifest through issues with cognition and executive functioning, as well as sensory problems and disruptions in behavior and communication. However, cerebral palsy is not exacerbated over time, and with the right treatment and therapy, many children with cerebral palsy thrive.

Compassionate Cerebral Palsy Attorneys Who Fight for the Justice You Deserve

If your child suffered brain damage during childbirth that resulted in cerebral palsy, and you believe that it was caused by a birth injury or medical error, you may have the right to take legal action. The Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs are here to provide you with the educational and legal resources you need. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the next steps in your case, and we will work tirelessly to help your family recover the compensation you deserve.

Was Your Child's CP Preventable?