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Neonatal Neurology

The Neonatal Neurology unit of Desert Care Network is dedicated to your baby’s brain development as well as brain injury prevention and management. It is important to understand that a newborn’s brain is very different than that of a child or an adult. Babies need intense, specialized care as a result of a brain injury or when they have a congenital neurological condition. Our dedicated doctors and specialists monitor, examine, and treat newborns throughout the neurological journey.

Premature Birth

A due date for a baby is based on a 40-week term; however, only 5% of women give birth on their actual due date.

  • Early Term: 37 Weeks – 38 Weeks, 6 Days
  • Full Term: 39 Weeks – 40 Weeks, 6 Days
  • Late Term: 41 Weeks – 41 Weeks, 6 Days

A baby born prior to 37 weeks is considered premature, although extreme preterm is when a baby is born before 28 weeks. While premature birth is common, babies that are born too early can experience an interruption in their normal brain development which could lead to more serious problems. Brain development in the 3rd trimester is very important. From the beginning of the third trimester, 27 weeks, to the end, 40 weeks, a baby’s brain will double in size. A preterm baby must continue their development in an environment that is vastly different from the one intended. All of these changes can impact brain development. The earlier a baby is born the more susceptible they are to brain injury and development issues.

Neonatal Neurological Disorders

There are other potential causes for neurological conditions in babies besides premature birth. These include:

  • Congenital Neurological Defects – Due to brain or spinal cord malformations such as neural tube defects.
  • Hydrocephalus – A buildup of fluid in the brain that results in a neurological condition.
  • Asphyxia – When a baby is deprived of oxygen before, during, or after birth.
  • Cerebrovascular Malformations – When an area of the brain has not formed properly.
  • Hemorrhage – Brain bleeding that could have different underlying causes.
  • Hypotonia – Low muscle tone that causes difficulty with breathing and feeding.

Early Diagnosis & Intervention

Seeing clearly, rolling over, crawling, the list goes on as babies rapidly develop in their first and second years of life. Healthy babies develop and achieve milestones at different times; however, there is a general outline of what is considered normal for your baby’s development. If signs of a neurological disorder appear, recognizing them and seeking treatment are imperative. Contact your pediatrician if your baby:

  • Shows a decline in developmental milestones
  • Exhibits regression in skills they have already achieved
  • Has a drastic change in normal behavior

The Role of the Parent

As a parent, you play an integral role in the care and treatment of your baby especially when they are experiencing a neurological condition. You are their support system and their advocate. Our multidisciplinary team works closely with you to ensure you understand your baby’s condition as well as all of the options for treatment. We are in your corner to answer any questions while providing comprehensive and compassionate care.

Contact us to learn more about our approach to neonatal neurology.