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What is intraventricular hemorrhage?

When you hear that your child has an intraventricular hemorrhage or IVH, it can be challenging to process. This refers to bleeding in and around the brain’s ventricles.

Kids Health explains that babies born under three pounds, premature and after a difficult delivery are most likely to suffer from IVH.

Symptoms of IVH

An IVH will usually happen within the first few days after birth. To diagnose it, doctors have to perform a scan of the head. Usually, doctors will look for bleeding in babies born prematurely, babies born of a difficult delivery or those who need a ventilator to breathe.

Symptoms include:

  • Slow heart rate
  • Anemia
  • Weak feeding
  • Soft spot bulging

Doctors grade IVH from grade one to four, with four being the most serious.

Treatment of IVH

Unfortunately, there are no treatments specifically for IVH. If your newborn has a hemorrhage, then he or she will undergo treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit. Doctors and nurses watch the baby around the clock to ensure no complications and treat any problems or difficulties associated with the IVH.

Some babies develop hydrocephalus. Doctors look for this issue by performing head ultrasounds. If there is a buildup of extra fluid in the brain’s ventricles, doctors have to drain the fluid. Fluid drainage will reduce the pressure on the brain. In this case, doctors have two options. They can do a spinal tap or they can place a VP shunt.

If your baby has serious IVH, he or she could develop cerebral palsy or suffer from seizures. Some children have learning problems and developmental delays.