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Mismanaged Deliveries Do Not Cause Most Brain-Damaged Newborns, Study

Update Date: Jan 25, 2016 09:37 AM EST

Brain damage in newborn babies is thought to be due to "mismanaged deliveries". But, according to a study by Loyola University, brain damage in newborns is not due to deliveries, but it happens after birth.

Medical records of 32 full-term infants were examined. Most of them developed excessive cerebral palsy and mental retardation after they were born, according to HNGN.

"All too often in cases of professional liability, the focus is on the last two hours of a normal 7,000-hour term pregnancy," Jonathan Muraskas, who led the research, said in a press release. "This study would support closer scrutiny of the first two hours [following birth] as a possible [cause] for non-preventable adverse neurological outcomes in newborns."

Among 1,000 full-term newborns, about one to three undergo brain disease that shows itself as "impaired consciousness, seizures and difficulty breathing". While just eight to 14.5 percent of the cases are due to improper blood flow to the brain during delivery, many say that obstetricians could be held responsible for the mismanagement.

Among the various cases, there were 18 newborns suffering from an infection called chorioamnionitis and 14 with excessive anemia. The medical records showed normal umbilical cord blood gases and deep gray matter, which showed that the births had been normal. However, the symptoms became apparent after the babies were born, while the best care did not manage to stave off brain damage.

Hence, even though appropriate neonatal management can be administered, there could be a number of chorioamnionitis and fetal anemia cases that damage the newborns in spite of safe deliveries.

The study was published in the Jan. 21,2016 issue of the Journal of Perinatology.

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