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Why did my child have brain infection after delivery?

Q: My wife delivered a baby girl after 6 hrs of unsuccessful labour/pains and a caesarian section subsequently. The baby was very strained by the time she came out and was put on ventilator for the whole night. Next day everything looked normal except she was vomiting after having milk. On the third day, she started crying heavily from morning around 6 AM and was also vomiting watery liquid with traces of milk. We showed to the doctor in a maternity clinic and she advised us to feed since the baby was hungry. But, crying continued till 1:30 PM. Then we took her to a paediatrician who advised some blood tests which showed mild jaundice symptoms. But, later on he removed pus from brain through spine and put the baby on antibiotics & sedatives for 3-4 days. After that the baby was discharged and is normal right now. Why did this happen at all and does it indicate any problems in future? Please advise any precautions that we may need to take?

A:Your daughter developed most probably a serious infection of the brain, meningitis after delivery. It is difficult to pinpoint the symptoms and signs of the illness like meningitis in newborns except by careful observation and appropriate lab tests. Information about the organism isolated from the fluid collected from spine can help in finding the possible mode and source of infection. Most probably the baby acquired this infection from the genital tract of the mother - infection transmitted during the process of delivery, prolonged rupture of membranes and/or interventions like multiple genital examinations done prior to the cesarean section. I am happy to note that she is doing well now, even though the usual therapy for such a serious infection is not less than two weeks. It is not always possible to prevent such infections, but careful preparation of the pregnant mother, good antenatal assessment of the type of delivery required, less interventions during labour, prevention and appropriate treatment of genital infections in mother, and prevention of early rupture on amniotic membranes during labour will go a long way in prevention. Regular follow up of the baby especially for her developmental milestones is essential.


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