Infant birth brain injury is linked to cerebral palsy, long term cognitive and mental impairment and other conditions. There are a number of causes of infant brain injury, from lack of oxygen to errors in instrumentation use. Doctors now believe identifying the cause of birth brain injury could help them develop prevention strategies to prevent these injuries.
Those guidelines were released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The guidelines have been published in the recent issue of the Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Pediatrics journals.
The two groups have released updated guidelines on neonatal encephalopathy, also known as newborn birth brain injury. The guidelines advise doctors to look at every possible cause of brain injury and identify the cause of the injury. For instance, many cases of birth brain injury are linked to problems during the labor and delivery process. However, there are many cases in which brain injury occurs even before labor begins.
It's important for doctors to identify the factors causing the brain injury and to do this, doctors will need to evaluate the mother's medical history, factors during the pregnancy that could increase the risk of a brain injury, and problems with the placenta.
These new guidelines are the latest in a series of recommendations by the two groups. For example, earlier guidelines have focused on determining if hypoxia or lack of oxygen during birth was responsible for the brain injury. There have been a number of advances made in the treatment of infants with a brain injury, and one of those which has been spotlighted in recent years, is therapeutic cooling. This is a technique in which the body is cooled soon after birth to reduce the risk of long-term damage.