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How the size of baby's head can lead to birth injury

Throughout a woman's pregnancy, her doctor will measure the fetus' growth. Physicians in Louisiana and elsewhere do this for a number of reasons, but the primary goal is to make sure the baby is growing as it should be and to make sure growth issues will not cause labor and delivery problems. In a report that was released in March 2018, researchers suggest that there is another reason to look at a fetus' size, particularly the head circumference. According to a recent study, the size of a baby's head can contribute to a birth injury, specifically cerebral palsy.

Researchers recently published their findings after studying nearly 5,000 term-born infants. It has been long believed that excessive pressure on the head during vaginal delivery can cause damage to white matter in the brain, causing -- or at least contributing to -- cerebral palsy. The study found that children born with head circumferences on the larger end were more likely to experience such an injury.

Breaking it down into percentages, babies born with head circumferences measuring in the 90th percentile were 10 times more likely to experience brain damage. Those with head circumferences measuring in the 75th to 89th percentiles were five times more likely to suffer brain damages. In this particular study, boys were more affected than girls. As this disorder is more prevalent in males than females, this finding may offer some explanation, though, the gender disproportion is something scientists are still looking into.

Learning that one's child has cerebral palsy due to a birth injury can be absolutely devastating. Taking care of a child with this disorder can be emotionally and financially draining. Louisiana residents whose children have received diagnoses of cerebral palsy, following difficult vaginal deliveries due to their children having large head circumferences, have the right to investigate whether medical negligence contributed to the injury. If there is a reason to believe so, it may be possible to seek compensation through legal means.

Source:, "Large Head Circumference at Birth May Predict Risk of Cerebral Palsy", Ana Pena, May 12, 2018

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