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Birth Asphyxia: Signs, Causes, and Effects

Updated April 21, 2021 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

What is Birth Asphyxia?

Asphyxia is a condition arising when the body is deprived of oxygen, and birth asphyxia occurs when a baby does not receive enough oxygen before, during, or directly after birth.

Birth asphyxia is the 5th largest cause of infant mortality, and it occurs in around 4 of every 1,000 full-term births globally. Getting the right treatment as soon as possible is critical, as it can reduce the chances of short-term damage, long-term damage, and even infant mortality.

What are the Signs of Birth Asphyxia?

Birth asphyxia can be detected through certain signs before, during, and after labor. Some of these signs include:

  • Abnormal heart rate or rhythm
  • Quiet, silent, blue, or limp babies
  • Gasping
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Weak muscle tone and reflexes
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of urine output
  • Blood clotting abnormalities

What Causes Birth Asphyxia?

There are many reasons that birth asphyxia occurs. However, the most common causes of birth asphyxia include:

What Are the Effects of Birth Asphyxia?

Birth asphyxia can have serious effects, such as:

  • Severe brain injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Death

Birth Asphyxia Treatment Options

Mild cases of birth asphyxia are treated with breathing support until the baby can breathe well enough without that support. Babies with more serious cases may require a breathing machine, respiratory therapy, fluids, or medicines. In extreme cases, more advances techniques may be required, such as: high-frequency ventilation, inhaled nitric acid, controlled hypothermia, and more.

Negligence in Birth Asphyxia

If birth asphyxia is not identified and addressed quickly, your child has a greater chance of being permanently disabled or injured. If your doctor could have done more to prevent birth asphyxia and the associated damages, your doctor could be held legally responsible. Medical records and facts are used to determine whether or not your doctor is responsible, even in part, for such injuries associated with birth asphyxia.

Contact a Birth Injury Attorney Today

If you believe that your child has been injured as a result of birth asphyxia, your first step is to reach out to a birth injury lawyer. An Indianapolis birth injury lawyer and staff can help you build a case and get you and your child the help you need.

With a strong and trustworthy attorney, you’ll have someone advocating for what’s rightfully yours. Contact WKW for a consultation to decide how to best move forward with your case. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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Let WKW put our experience to work for you. Contact us for your free case evaluation.


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