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Moro reflex and the lack of it indicating a birth injury

| Mar 2, 2021 | Birth Injuries |

Whether one is a first time parent or not, each pregnancy and birth is an exciting, emotional and scary event. While one is hopeful for everything to go smoothly and to birth a healthy baby, this unfortunately is not always the case. Parents in Pennsylvania and elsewhere put trust in medical professionals to ensure the pregnancy goes well and the labor and delivery process is safe. If mistakes are made, the mother, baby or both could suffer a birth injury.

Moro Reflex

When parents place their newborn down to rest, they seem to almost immediately go bugged-eyed, begin throwing their hands in the air and will cry. While this can feel frustrating, it is found to be a natural response and is called the Moro reflex. It is likely to occur from birth until 5 months of age, and is considered an evolutional response to prevent abandonment. Furthermore, it is considered to occur in the reptilian brain, and doctors will test for this response.

Indication of a birth injury

It is not always obvious to a parent that a baby has suffered a birth injury. The birthing process can be overwhelming, and it can take time for a baby to settle into the world outside of the womb. Thus, it may take some time before a parent questions whether or not the behaviors of their baby is due to a birth injury.

The lack of a Moro reflex could be due to a birth injury. In fact, the lack of, the extended presence of this reflex or having the reflex on only one side of the body could signal that the baby suffered a birth injury. Having the reflex on one side would mean that the baby suffered an injury to the brachialplexus, peripheral nerve or the clavicle during the birthing process. These are fairly common birth injuries and can likely be treated surgically.

The absence of the response could signal that the baby suffered a birth injury, severe birth asphyxia, intracranial hemorrhage, cerebral palsy, muscular weakness or a brain malformation. In contrast, having this reflex persist beyond six months of age could signal other health conditions but could also be an indication of drug withdrawal because of maternal drug use during pregnancy.

If a parent believes that their baby has suffered a birth injury due to a medical mistake made by a medical professional, it is possible to take action. A medical malpractice action could help establish cause and help place liability. It can also assist with the recovery of compensation, which could be used to address losses and damages suffered due to the birth injury.