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Many factors can cause brain injuries in newborns

Roughly one in 1,000 full-term babies born in the United States suffer a brain injury, according to a new report by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Brain injuries in newborns can cause life-long damage and complications. Brain injuries at birth can cause cerebral palsy and other disabilities that can impact the rest of the baby's life. 

Due to the seriousness of brain injuries, it is important for doctors to be aware of the risks of a brain injury during a woman's pregnancy and during labor and delivery. In many cases where a newborn suffers a brain injury, doctors have attributed it to a lack of oxygen during labor and delivery. However, the new report recommends that doctors look at several different factors that may have caused the brain injury instead of automatically linking the injury to oxygen deprivation.

The report says that in addition to lack of oxygen during the birth, other factors can also cause brain injuries in newborns. The other factors doctors should consider include any medical issues during the mother's pregnancy, infections, placental abnormalities or the baby having a stroke near the delivery. The groups recommend that doctors consider all of these factors after a newborn is diagnosed with a brain injury to find new treatments and ways to prevent brain injuries in the future.

Doctors need to monitor a woman's pregnancy very carefully and provide treatment when possible if a medical issue arises that could result in complications for the mother or baby. Doctors are expected to address any medical issues like an infection during the pregnancy to keep both the mother and baby safe. 

Unfortunately, medical issues aren't always discovered or addressed and this negligence can lead to brain injuries in newborns. Expecting mothers in Arizona should be aware of the risks of their newborn suffering a brain injury and know they can file a lawsuit against their doctor if there were any warning signs or symptoms. Legal action can also be taken against a doctor if a mistake occurs during the labor and delivery that results in a brain injury or complication.

Source: The New York Times, "Hurt Before the Birth," Jane E. Brody, May 5, 2014

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