Large Head Circumference & Brain Damage Risk To Newborns
A birth injury is one of the worst things any parent can experience. That’s why it is important for medical professionals responsible for childbirth to closely monitor preterm and near-term babies for potential health risks.
According to a study conducted by German researchers, babies born with a large head circumference could be at risk of white matter brain damage. In turn, this puts preterm and near-term babies at risk of developing cerebral palsy. This is often attributed to pressure on the skull during delivery, which can affect circulation to the brain.
Measuring Head Circumference
The study examined 4,725 newborn babies from day one to day 30 by using a morphometric index (MMI) to measure weight, length and head circumference. Researchers found white matter damage in 61 infants, particularly those born with a low birth weight, length and head circumference.
Additionally, the study found:
- Babies with head circumferences of less than 10th centile or more than 75th centile were five to 10 times more likely to suffer from white matter brain damage.
- Babies born with large head circumferences higher than 90th centile were 10 times more likely to suffer from white matter brain damage.
- Boys represented 74 percent of all newborns in the 90th centile to suffer from white matter brain damage.
One extreme example of how a large head circumference can lead to severe complication involves a newborn girl who was born with a deformed skull and facial bones. The child also suffered a stroke due to the traumatic birth injury and had to undergo years of treatment.
Taking Preventative Measures
Brain damage isn’t always detected after birth. Roughly 38 percent of newborns with brain damage are admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) for asphyxia. However, the remaining 62 percent don’t show any symptoms and are often diagnosed as healthy. As a result, signs of cerebral palsy may not develop until in their childhood.
The researchers urge hospital maternal units to screen preterm and near-term babies for potential signs of white matter brain damage by using MMI. This method, along with head circumference monitoring, can be an effective tool for preventing brain damage in newborns.
If your child has suffered brain damage during birth, the pressure from medical expenses and emotional burden can take a toll on your life. That’s why you need an experienced, compassionate Atlanta birth injury lawyer on your side.
Contact Tyrone Law Firm, PC today for a free consultation. We serve families in Atlanta and throughout Georgia.