Pregnancy can be a life-changing experience for any parent. Yet labor can still be extremely difficult. Anything can go wrong at any minute; a mere delay of one to two minutes can lead to disastrous consequences for both the mother and baby.
Birth injuries are not an uncommon occurrence. Out of 1000 babies, seven suffer from birth injuries. Birth injuries occur during childbirth and are different from congenital deformities. Medical malpractice, premature birth, and prolonged labor are some reasons for birth injuries. Some minor injuries heal quickly over time. However, it is difficult to identify injuries with long-term consequences since signs show up a few weeks or months after the baby’s delivery.
Fortunately, many birth injuries are treatable and manageable. As a parent, you can leverage several options to make life easier for your child as they grow older. Listed below are some treatment options that can help your child live a happy and independent life.
- Physical therapy
Physical therapy focuses on strengthening the muscles and improving movement after the child suffers neurological injuries during labor. It helps the child regain balance and restore motor skills. It not only alleviates pain but also enhances flexibility within the muscles. Physical therapists employ different pieces of equipment like exercise balls, free weights, and resistance bands to improve posture and motion.
Injuries like cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy are preventable and often occur because of medical malpractice. Parents can file a birth injury lawsuit against the person or organization responsible for the injury and secure funds to make life manageable for the child. This money can help parents cover expenses related to physical therapy and others, such as buying a wheelchair, orthotics, and other adaptive equipment for their child.
- Occupational therapy
Occupational therapy helps a child perform everyday activities that others can do without help. Occupational therapists work with children to teach them basic tasks like brushing teeth, using the washroom, eating without assistance, and getting dressed. Similarly, OT supports social skill development in such children.
To begin therapy, occupational therapists will first assess the child to determine which areas need improvement. Then, they will develop a plan and intervene accordingly. The focus of OT is to build fine motor skills, fix the poor balance, improve hand-eye coordination, and increase adaptability. Therefore, occupational therapy aids a child in doing all those things they want to do or is expected of them.
- Speech therapy
Birth injuries affect cognitive functions like speech, memory, attention, and perception. Thus, the child suffers from slowed and slurred speech. Some children may not speak at all and have to learn. No matter the case, speech therapy can strengthen a child’s speaking ability. If you are wondering if there is a speech therapy near me, you don’t need to worry since it’s a highly demanded therapy across the USA and Canada.
Speech therapy uses different models and sounds to help the child form words. It handles various disorders in fluency, resonance, and articulation. Moreover, it focuses on enhancing cognition, expression, and response. It also helps the child read, write, and process language. Therefore, speech therapy is necessary for children suffering from birth injuries. It helps them improve their vocal quality, speech, language, and communication skills to talk to people comfortably. This helps to bolster their social skills and self-esteem as well.
- Recreational therapy
Recreational therapy uses recreational activities for treatment. It helps children enjoy the things they love while benefiting from them. Recreational therapists first identify a child’s interests and severity of disability to choose the best project for them. For example, cerebral palsy patients who have difficulty performing movement and coordination exercises may benefit from swimming. Swimming provides a positive environment for the patients, reducing their weight and making it easy to perform the exercise.
Similarly, dance, music, sports, play, and art can assist children with learning disabilities caused by birth injuries. These activities help affected children unlock their potential as they grow older. Thus, recreational therapy improves physical and mental health, augments social skills, boosts self-confidence, and enhances perception.
For palliative treatment, various medications are available. These medications do not cure the injury, but they help alleviate symptoms. These medications treat pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms, and they assist the child in performing various physical exercises. Specific drugs for particular birth injuries are also available. For example, newborns with cephalohematoma take diuretics to reduce swelling in the brain.
Similarly, dyskinetic cerebral palsy patients take anticholinergics to reduce involuntary movements of the body. Another example is the use of Botox in Erb’s Palsy to improve shoulder movement. Botox paralyzes some muscles of the arms, providing weak muscles time to develop.
- Surgical treatment
Skull fracture, bone fracture, or Erb’s palsy are some injuries that can be treated with surgery. Patients with skull fractures benefit from various surgical treatments. Treatment depends on the severity of the fracture and brain damage. For severe fracture that punctures other organs as well, surgery becomes necessary. Similarly, for excessive bleeding, surgeons carry out a surgical operation to remove the source of bleeding and drain blood. A craniotomy is also necessary in some cases. 80% of Erb’s palsy patients gain control over their arms and shoulders after surgery. Thus, it is an excellent treatment for such children.
Different surgeries help improve symptoms of muscle spasticity, mobility, and vision in cerebral palsy patients. A selective dorsal rhizotomy is a surgery option for CP patients suffering from muscle spasticity. Similarly, orthopedic surgery helps with overall movement, while optical surgery treats impaired vision. These surgeries not only improve symptoms but also relieve pain.
- Hyperbaric oxygen treatment
A newly emerging treatment strategy focuses on treating birth injuries resulting from oxygen deprivation during childbirth. In this treatment, a machine introduces oxygen at high pressures into the body. This high level of 200 to 240 percent of oxygen is in the chamber promotes the growth of stem cells. This helps to increase the body’s cell production. Moreover, because of immobility, the blood gas levels are also abnormal. Oxygen also balances these levels, thus aiding in the proper removal of carbon dioxide from the body.
Having a child with a birth injury can be physically and mentally draining for everyone involved in the care process. Such a child demands special care and attention. Seeing their child in such a state can make parents anxious and hopeless, but various treatments are available. These treatments can help your child live a life like any other kid. So consult with a doctor and see what’s best for your kid.