Birth Asphyxia

Birth injuries are serious. Even the mildest birth injuries can be expensive and can inflict unnecessary pain on your infant. More severe birth injuries can hurt your baby in more horrible ways such as severe brain injuries, paralysis, cerebral palsy, and death. One such birth injury happens when the baby has been deprived of oxygen. This is called birth asphyxia or perinatal asphyxia. If you have more questions about perinatal asphyxia or if you wonder if your baby could have been a victim of perinatal asphyxia, take a look at the following questions.

What is Birth Asphyxia?

Birth asphyxia is when a child’s brain has experienced oxygen deprivation. Oxygen deprivation can happen in a few ways, usually related to the pinching or kinking of the umbilical cord due to a doctor’s ignorance of its location or a doctor’s malpractice. Birth asphyxia –which is the name for when a child stops breathing and experiences oxygen deprivation- leads to anoxia or hypoxia, which is the name for whatever oxygen level the brain experiences. Anoxia is when there is zero oxygen in the brain or muscles, and hypoxia is when there is only a low amount of oxygen in those areas.

What Tests Can Confirm My Baby Has Birth Asphyxia?

There are number of tests that can confirm perinatal asphyxia. These tests include a CT scan, an MRI, and an Electroencephalogram (EEG). These may not be specific enough, so other more thorough tests include the SPECT tests, a form of CT scan that checks areas of the brain for blood flow and metabolism, and evoked potential tests, tests that evaluate the visual, auditory, and sensory pathways.

How Do I Get Care for My Baby With Asphyxia?

The most important thing to do is to get your baby tested for birth asphyxia. Brain injuries are serious and get worse without treatment. From there, you can work with a specialist as to how to care for your baby, sometimes treatment that may require medication or other types of therapy. The specialist should be able to effectively communicate how you can care for your baby.

What are the Risks of Birth Asphyxia?

Birth asphyxia could be very severe. Your baby might have stopped breathing for only a few seconds, causing hypoxia, or your baby could have birth asphyxia, could stop breathing for minutes, cause anoxia, and lead to other birth injuries such as Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy –two conditions that could affect your baby for the rest of his or her life.

What are the Symptoms?

If your baby hasn’t been tested yet, or if for whatever reason the tests don’t indicate that your baby has asphyxia, it’s important to keep an eye out for a few different kinds of symptoms so that you can catch the brain injury before it gets worse. Some obvious symptoms include not breathing or weak breathing, skin color is bluish or pale, or the baby is experiencing seizures. Other symptoms that your doctor can aid you with includes amniotic fluid is stained with meconium, heart rate is low, muscle tone is poor or reflexes are weak, or if there is too much acid in the blood.