Birth injuries may be treated using several different methods, depending on the type and severity of the birth injury and the preferences of the parents. Certain birth injuries, such as cephalohematoma and most fractures will heal without treatment. Other birth injuries may require several different treatment methods followed by therapy to effectively treat. If birth injuries can be traced to malpractice, the medical facility or physician that caused the birth injuries may be responsible for covering costs associated with treatments and therapy, so it is important for victims to careful track and save all information regarding treatment if malpractice is suspected.
Using Medication for Birth Injury Treatment
Medication is often used to treat birth injuries that cause seizures or pain. Medication may also be used to control inflammation and muscle spasms. Birth injuries that may be treatable with medication typically include nerve injuries and injuries in which there has been oxygen deprivation or brain trauma, although victims with many different types of injuries may benefit from pain relief.
Medications that may be prescribed to treat birth injuries include:
- Anticholinergic medication
- Seizure medication
- Anti-spastic medication
Treating Birth Injuries with Surgery
Surgery may help infants to survive in cases where there has been severe trauma that has caused a fractured skull or fractured bone that may cause organ perforation. Surgery may also help infants to avoid paralysis or immobility of limbs when birth complications cause trauma to the body or nerves. While surgery may not be helpful or needed in all cases of birth injury, it should be decided upon and carried out quickly when needed to have the greatest impact.
Physical Therapy Birth Injury Treatment
Many patients that have suffered birth injuries benefit from some type of physical therapy. In severe cases, patients may attend physical therapy sessions for life. Patients that have cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia, brachial plexus injuries, and any other condition that affects the muscles and coordination may improve mobility and muscle strength with physical therapy. Physical therapy can help patients with birth injuries enjoy a much higher quality of life.
Early Development and Physical Therapy
When infants suffer from birth injuries in which symptoms manifest immediately, physical therapy may be needed right from the start to help babies develop the coordination and strength needed to learn to sit up, walk, and other necessary skills. Physical therapists will also work with flexibility and posture to maximize range of motion and muscle tone. Doing this as children develop may help minimize any delay in reaching developmental milestones.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Birth Injuries
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is usually used to treat infants that have suffered from oxygen deprivation during the birthing process. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has shown to decrease the symptoms of brain damage, which can be helpful in treating autism and cerebral palsy. At this time, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has not been proven and approved to treat these specific conditions, but research has shown links that indicate that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can sometimes benefit children with the conditions.
Occupational Therapy for Birth Injuries
Occupational therapy can help children with physical, cognitive, or sensory disorders stemming from birth injuries to adjust to living with the conditions. Occupational therapists may help children to develop cognitive skills such as coping with social situations or understanding the appropriate emotional response to situations. Occupational therapists may help children develop hand-eye coordination and learn how to take care of daily hygiene needs such as brushing teeth. Occupational therapists may also help children to develop positive attitudes and behaviors.
Neonatal Therapeutic Hypothermia for Brain injuries
When infants are at risk for developing brain damage, neonatal therapeutic hypothermia may help to reduce the extent of damage. During neonatal therapeutic hypothermia, the infant’s body temperature is carefully lowered using a cooling blanket in a highly controlled intensive care unit. The lower temperature has shown effectiveness in slowing the progression of brain injuries.
Speech Therapy for Birth Injury Treatment
Birth injuries may affect a child’s ability to learn to speak. Speech therapy can help children to learn to enunciate, form words, and eventually read. Therapists may assign homework and practice communication with patients. Learning to communicate effectively and read can help give children with birth injuries a greater sense of independence, which may help to offset some of the emotional effects of birth injuries.
“Birth Injury.” Merck Manuals. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp, 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/childrens_health_issues/problems_in_newborns/birth_injury.html>
“Birth Injury Treatment.” Birth Injury Guide. Birth Injury Guide, 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <http://www.birthinjuryguide.org/birth-injury/treatment/>
“Treatment of Brachial Plexus Injuries.” BirthInjury.org. Brockton Creative Group, 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <http://www.birthinjury.org/brachial-plexus-treatment.html>