Did your baby suffer a birth injury or trauma? Certain types of developmental delays can be an early indicator.
During the approximately 40 weeks leading up to labor and delivery, many expectant parents will encounter unforeseen challenges. Some of these challenges are par for the course with pregnancy, while others are signs of concern regarding your child’s health.
A medical team, close friends and family members and others can provide support to a parent and baby before, during and after delivery. In fact, it’s especially important to closely monitor an infant’s health in the months that follow his or her birth.
Making matters more difficult, birth injuries sometimes occur but are not always immediately apparent. Signs and symptoms associated with a birth injury, such as cognitive and developmental delays, might surface weeks, months, even years after a child is born. In such cases, it’s essential to consult with an experienced birth injury lawyer to explore your legal options.
No two babies are exactly the same
When it comes to spotting birth trauma symptoms in babies, it’s important to note that each child is unique, especially when it comes to early childhood development skills. For instance, one baby might learn to walk before he or she reaches his or her first birthday, while another toddler might not take his or her first steps until a second birthday draws near.
Just because your child is hitting certain milestones as quickly as other babies, it doesn’t automatically mean that they are suffering from a birth injury or genetic condition.
If a parent is concerned about signs of developmental delays in their baby or a specific set of birth injury symptoms, it’s best to discuss such concerns with a licensed pediatrician or primary care doctor.
Seeking medical attention in a timely manner is often a key to achieving as full of a recovery as possible. In some cases, changes in diet or other lifestyle issues may help a child overcome a developmental delay. There are other conditions, however, that are more severe that may require additional medical treatments, physical therapy or other outside support.
Common signs of developmental delays in babies
While every child learns and grows at a unique pace, there are certain behaviors that can raise concern and which a parent may wish to report to their child’s pediatrician. The average child will cross certain milestones at specific stages of development. For example, most children learn to sit, stand, hold objects and understand basic words of communication before their first birthday.
By the baby’s 3rd or 4th birthday, they should continue to develop gross and fine motor skills and other cognitive abilities, such as speaking in sentences, walking, running, learning to read and more.
Signs of developmental delay in babies often include failure to develop a particular skill, especially within the time frame that is typically common for a healthy child of his or her age.
Babies who exhibit these symptoms might have a birth injury
It is sometimes difficult to determine whether something a baby is doing is a normal part of growth and development or cause for concern. For instance, babies often drool when their teeth start to push through their gums.
However, excessive drooling is also a possible sign of cerebral palsy (CP), a birth injury condition that often occurs if a baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen before or during birth. Additional symptoms of CP include difficulty swallowing food, dragging a limb while walking, lucid muscles and lack of motor skills.
Are birth issues an underlying cause of developmental delays?
Any number of issues might cause a child to have delayed speech, gross motor skills or other cognitive delays. One of the most common causes of developmental delay is premature birth. Babies with low birth weights or those who suffered hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) during delivery may also be at risk for developmental delays.
A licensed obstetrician or midwife should be trained to recognize signs of maternal or fetal distress. A medical team working in obstetrics is expected to be able to recognize adverse health issues and take appropriate action to address medical issues quickly in an effort to keep a mother and her child safe. Failing to carry out such duties may cause birth complications that result in severe injury to a mother and/or her infant. Developmental delays are often evidence of birth injuries that may have been caused by medical negligence.
Getting the care and treatment your child needs
Whether signs of developmental delay are present immediately or years after birth, the priority once symptoms are noticed is to report your concern to your child’s pediatrician in order to begin diagnostic testing and start any necessary treatment as soon as possible. If you or the doctor believes that something may have happened during pregnancy, labor, delivery or postpartum care to cause the child’s symptoms, we recommend meeting with a birth injury attorney to further investigate.
A severe developmental delay or birth injury can have long-term consequences, including a life-long disability or a child’s inability to function on a daily basis without specialized care and support. Such care is expensive, and a child’s parents should not be made to carry the financial burden associated with a condition that was caused by medical negligence.
Fortunately, most state courts allow parents to act on behalf of their children in order to seek restitution in a civil court against any person or group deemed responsible for their child’s birth injury or trauma. In such situations, it’s always best to seek legal support as soon as possible to get help navigating these complex medical malpractice claims.
If you believe that your infant’s developmental delays were caused by medical negligence, we recommend meeting with experienced birth injury attorney Laura Brown right away so that she can start gathering evidence to show that negligence played a role and was a direct cause of damages.
- Cerebral Palsy
- Caput Succedaneum and Cephalohematoma
- Neonatal Intracranial Hemorrhage (Childbirth Brain Bleeds)
- Hydrocephalus (Extra Fluid in the Brain Cavity)
- Cervical Dystonia
- Hemiplegia (Brain or Spinal Cord Injury)
- Hemorrhagic Stroke
- Neonatal Stroke
- Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) Brain Injury
- Infant Seizures
- Spastic Diplegia (Spasticity in the Legs)
- Top Risks for Birth Injuries
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- G-Tubes for Newborns
- Medical Errors
- Cesarean Section & Birth Injury
- Negligence in Brain Cooling Treatment
- Craniosacral Therapy
- Fetal Intolerance to Labor
- Jaundice (Kernicterus)
- Breech Position
- Placental Complications
- Placental Problems
- Umbilical Cord Problems
- Uterine Rupture
- Cervical Incompetence (Insufficiency)
- Blighted Ovum
- Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) - Intestinal Inflammation
- Cephalopelvic Disproportion
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
- Amniotic Fluid Embolism
- Birth Injury from Premature Delivery
- Developmental Delays
- Abnormal Cord Insertion
- Infections at Birth
- Chorioamnionitis Bacterial Infection
- Premature birth
- Oxygen Deprivation
- Birth-Acquired Herpes
- Placenta Previa
- Placental Abruption
- Mismanaged Fetal Malposition
- Obesity Related Birth Injuries
- Intrauterine Growth Restriction
- Blood Clots During Pregnancy
- Ectopic Pregnancy Misdiagnosis
- Myths & Facts About Birth Injuries
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Gestational Diabetes
- Maternal Mortality Risk
- Oligohydramnios (Low Amniotic Fluid)
- Infections During Pregnancy