In many cases, birth injuries are very serious and can cause permanent disabilities, especially in the cases in which the injuries are not immediately treated. Some birth injuries are noticeable right away, whereas some birth injuries take years to develop. The following are symptoms that are apparent immediately, but be aware that these symptoms could be related to another health condition as well. If you think your child has a brain injury, you should consult with a doctor right away.

Actions Symptoms:

  • Arched back while crying
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Breathlessness
  • Excessive fussiness
  • Grunting and/or high-pitched crying
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulties with sucking, eating, and swallowing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Light sensitivity

Health-Related Symptoms:

  • Anemia
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • High-frequency hearing loss
  • Hypertension or hypotension
  • Inflamed nasal passages
  • Jaundice
  • Low heart rate
  • Low oxygen levels in the blood
  • Paleness and/or wax-like appearance to the skin
  • Persistent coughing
  • Poor weight gain
  • Vision changes
  • Wheezing

There are many cases in which the baby will show symptoms that are both action-related and health-related along with muscle and bone-related symptoms too.

Muscle and Bone Symptoms:

  • Arm and/or hand bent towards the body
  • Curled-up hand that looks like a claw
  • Favors one side of their body
  • Hairy patch on the back
  • Muscle stiffness or looseness
  • Skull fractures
  • Spasms
  • Weak movements
  • Weak or absent reflexes
  • Writhing movements

Symptoms That Become Noticeable Between 12-24 Months

Even though a birth injury most likely happened during labor or delivery, some babies do not experience symptoms until they enter the toddler phase. Common symptoms that a toddler may experience that could indicate a birth injury includes:

  • Ataxia
  • Motor skill development delay
  • Difficulties getting dressed
  • Difficulties with toilet training
  • Difficulties in walking normally
  • Difficulties with problem-solving
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Involuntary pulling of the neck
  • Lack of muscle control
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Speech problems

Children Missing Important Developmental Milestones

Parents should be seeing their pediatrician regularly during the first few years of their child’s life and during those visits, doctors will be checking to make sure the child is hitting their developmental milestones. If the child is missing some of their developmental milestones, it could be an indication that they suffered from a birth injury. The following is a list of milestones that children should reach at a certain age:
2 to 4 months old:

  • Reaches for and grasps objects
  • Coos and smiles
  • Follows people with eyes
  • Holds head up
  • Pushes up on elbows if lying on stomach
  • Recognizes faces
  • Turns head towards a sound

6 to 9 months old:

  • Bears down weight on legs when standing
  • Brings objects to mouth
  • Can bounce when standing on the ground
  • Easily can look around at nearby objects
  • Passes objects from one hand to the other hand
  • Picks up small things with fingers
  • Rolls over from back to front and front to back
  • Sits alone without assistance
  • Starts to crawl
  • Understands different words and sounds

1 year old:

  • Can explore and find hidden objects
  • May be able to walk or can walk while holding onto furniture
  • Starts to say words
  • Understands simple instructions

18 months old:

  • Can say many different single words
  • Can draw by themselves
  • Drinks from a cup without assistance
  • Eats with a spoon without assistance
  • Points to objects they want to play with
  • Stands and walks
  • Understands one-step instructions

2-3 years old:

  • Begins to say complete sentences
  • Can draw straight lines and circle shapes
  • Can dress and undress without assistance
  • Can run and kick a ball
  • Knows and says name and age
  • Knows body parts
  • Knows their family members
  • Walks up and down stairs without assistance

4-5 years old:

  • Can cooperate with other kids
  • Can hop and stand on one foot for short periods of time
  • Climbs without assistance
  • Retells favorite stories
  • Understand basic grammar and songs
  • Uses scissors
  • Uses the toilet by themselves

If your child is not meeting their milestones, it does not always mean that they have suffered a birth injury. Only a doctor can diagnose a disability or a disorder. If you think your child is missing important milestones, you should make an appointment with your doctor right away.

Birth Injury Symptoms into Adulthood
Although many birth injury symptoms will be experienced during infancy and early toddler years, some children’s symptoms do not become apparent until they enter school. Symptoms that can appear later include difficulties with fine motor skills, ADD/ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome and autism.