The term “birth injury” can mean many different things. However, what it usually means to anyone dealing with a birth injury is that some sort of treatment is required. Whether it is just a minor a minor injury or something that will affect the baby for life, treatment will always be necessary.
This proves that there are various types of treatments needed for cases of birth injury and that some may be immediate (upon delivery) and some may be ongoing.
Birth Injury Treatments
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Not yet a treatment approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this treatment has nonetheless yielded results that merit more study and attention.
Known as HBOT, it has been successfully used on infants who suffered some level of oxygen deprivation during delivery. Because this can easily cause brain damage, physicians believe that putting the newborn into HBOT treatment, which maintains an environment at 100% oxygen, can help to limit the damage done.
Currently, it has been noted for playing a role in treating symptoms of autism and cerebral palsy.
Neonatal Therapeutic Hypothermia
Along similar lines with HBOT, this treatment attempts to limit the amount of damage done to a baby who has suffered a birth injury by lowering body temperature and slowing cellular activity.
If a baby is born with a known risk for severe brain damage, such as a prolonged period of oxygen deprivation, it is felt that putting the infant into this cooling treatment will reduce the risk of further brain injury.
Another immediate treatment for birth injury might be some sort of surgical approach. However, these treatments may not be put to use as quickly as those above. It is usually something done following an evaluation of the infant to determine the extent of an injury or when it is not responding to treatment.
Surgical remedies are used most often on skull fractures, brain bleeds, and any type of nerve damage in which therapy does not seem to address the issue (such as Erb’s palsy).
Obviously, when a birth injury can cause such symptoms as seizures or muscle issues, medications may be put to use to help the child over the course of days, weeks or even their entire lifetime. The regimen used may change as a child develops, but the most common medications are those that help with pain, spasms, seizures, muscle rigidity, neurological malfunctions, and anticholingeric drugs (those that help with respiration).
Any birth injury is likely to require some form of physical therapy, even when it is an infant. This is because most birth injuries do interrupt the child’s natural growth and development. Whether it relates to their coordination or some other developmental stage, the physical therapy is an ideal treatment for almost any birth injury.
For example, the most common reasons an infant will be treated by a physical therapist includes Erb’s palsy or other brachial plexus injury, cerebral palsy, and other injuries that cause weakness in the muscles. Additionally, physical therapy may be ongoing to ensure that a child continues to develop properly and may focus on everything from strength and gait to posture and flexibility.
While physical therapy helps the child with strength and development, occupational therapy may focus more on the finer details. If a child suffers a birth injury, they may struggle with motor skills, cognitive disability, sensory issues and more. The occupational therapy will aim at overcoming disabilities or disorders, and is usually ongoing throughout a child’s lifetime.