Babies cry for a variety of reasons. Even though there is nothing abnormal about a baby crying, many parents worry that their newborn is in pain or something is wrong when they cry a lot.

The fact is that a newborn does not have any way to communicate except through crying. Newborns cry when they are hungry, their diaper needs changing, and when they need comfort. However, babies also cry when they are in pain.

But the pain could be nothing more than gas. Unless the crying is intense, chronic, and accompanied by the baby arching the back, the reason for the crying is probably normal.

What Are the Causes of Arched Back Crying?

When an infant arches their back and cries, it could be a sign of physical pain. Arched back crying is a common sign that babies exhibit when they experience strong or acute pain. Therefore, arched back crying could be an indication of a serious condition — but not always.

Several conditions could cause a baby to arch the back and cry out. In many cases, the cause of arched back crying is not serious. 

Some potential causes of a baby crying while arching the back include:

Infant Acid Reflux

GER or gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the stomach contents come up into the esophagus, which can cause spitting up and regurgitation. GERD is a longer-lasting and more severe case of gastroesophageal reflux. GER can cause discomfort, which could lead to arched back crying.

In many cases, GER goes away with time. A pediatrician may adjust the baby’s formula to help with GER. If GERD persists, the pediatrician may run further tests or prescribe medication. 

Colic

Many parents deal with the symptoms of colic, which include uncontrollable crying and arching of the back. Colic is very common. It can be frightening for new parents when they cannot console their infant. They can reach out to their pediatrician for help if the colic does not go away. 

Jaundice and Kernicterus 

Jaundice is a common condition caused by excess levels of bilirubin in the baby’s bloodstream. It does not generally cause pain, but it should be treated immediately. If not treated, jaundice can lead to kernicterus.

Kernicterus (a rare type of brain damage) can cause intense pain for a baby. Arched back crying combined with jaundice could be an early symptom of kernicterus.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can sometimes occur because of complications during labor and delivery. Long vaginal deliveries can damage the baby’s nerves. Nerve damage can cause acute pain, which could lead to arched back crying. It could also be a sign of permanent nerve injuries such as Erb’s Palsy.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to a baby’s developing brain. The result is impairments in the brain’s ability to coordinate and control muscle movements. Arching the back is one of the early signs of spastic cerebral palsy in newborns.

What Should You Do if Your Baby Has Arched Back Crying?

Try to remember that arched back crying can be normal and may not indicate a serious condition or injury. However, it is important to trust your parental instincts. If you are concerned, contact your baby’s pediatrician. A complete examination may be necessary to diagnose the reason for the crying.

If your pediatrician does not find anything wrong, the chances are that your baby is fine and the arched back crying will stop. However, if your baby continues to cry, you can seek a second opinion. You may ask to be referred to a specialist, or you could visit another pediatrician. 

Parents know when something is wrong. If your baby cannot be consoled and continues to exhibit arched back crying, there could be a reason for the arched back crying that requires immediate medical attention.

Filing Claims for Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice 

Birth injuries and medical malpractice can be the cause of a baby’s arched back crying. A doctor may have failed to treat jaundice or diagnose nerve damage after delivery. Numerous things can go wrong during labor and delivery that are preventable if doctors and medical staff are vigilant and attentive.

Potential causes of birth injuries include:

  • Failing to monitor the baby and the mother
  • Medication during labor and delivery
  • Failing to perform a risk analysis for potential complications
  • Using forceps or other devices incorrectly
  • Failing to order a timely C-section
  • Failing to monitor the baby after delivery for signs of distress, infection, or injuries

If you believe your baby’s condition was caused by medical negligence, it is important to seek legal advice from a birth injury lawyer in Houston. An attorney can advise you of your legal rights and the steps you need to take to protect your baby’s best interests.