Symptoms of a Baby With Brain Damage

BabyInjuries to the brain are the most serious type of birth injury. Damage to the brain of a newborn is the most common cause of infant mortality and permanent physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy. Infant brain injuries can be caused by one of 3 things: (1) congenital defects; (2) external trauma to the head during childbirth; or (3) oxygen deprivation during childbirth or pregnancy. Infant brain injuries are rarely diagnosed right away. In fact, some brain injuries are not formally diagnosed until 1 or 2 years after birth. For parents who are concerned that there child may have suffered a brain injury during childbirth, understanding the possible symptoms of such an injury is very important.

Early Symptoms of Brain Damage in Newborns

Some of the earliest indications of possible brain damage in newborns are physical abnormalities that can be observed just by looking at the baby. These early physical symptoms are only present with certain types of brain injuries.

  • Overly large forehead
  • Twisted or misshaped spine
  • Facial features appear abnormal or distorted
  • Undersized head
  • Spontaneous seizures
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Not able to move and focus eyes
  • Brain injuries may also cause newborns to exhibit abnormal temperament and behavioral patterns:
  • Not able to sleep laying down
  • Intense crying (with arched back)
  • Feeding problems
Developmental Delay Symptoms

The early, outward signs of infant brain damage are frequently hit or miss in nature. Some infants with very severe brain injuries may not exhibit any of the early physical signs while others will. Almost all brain injuries, however, will eventually become evident as the child develops. As babies grow they normally reach certain developmental milestones at certain ages (e.g., rolling over; sitting up; talking; walking, etc.). These development milestones can be both cognitive and. Brain damage in infants will usually become apparent as the child grows and repeatedly fails to achieve various developmental milestones like normal children.

Brain Damage Symptoms Under 6 Months:
  • Limp neck and baby cannot lift head independently by 6 months
  • Baby feels like "rag doll" from total lack of muscle tone
  • Arched back crying
Symptoms After 6 Months:
  • Baby not able to roll over on their own by 9 months
  • Not able to sit up on their own
  • Baby not able to bring hands together
  • Trouble bringing hands to face
  • Involuntary movements
  • Consistently fails to meet other development milestones
  • Abnormal posture