Symptoms of Birth Hypoxia or Asphyxia that Parents Should Be Aware of
Birth hypoxia and asphyxia both refer to lack of oxygen to the brain in a fetus. This can occur right before, during or immediately after birth.
Seattle Children's Research Foundation explains that a baby’s cells do not function properly when deprived of oxygen and nutrients. Oxygen deprivation can result in waste products building up in the cells, which causes damage.
What Factors Determine the Degree of Harm?
Factors that determine the extent of harm include:
- The length of time the baby was deprived of oxygen
- How low the baby's oxygen level is
- The speed with which the baby receives proper treatment
When hypoxia or asphyxia is mild, babies can fully recover. When it is severe, a baby may suffer from permanent injury, affecting the baby’s brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, bowels or other organs.
What Can Cause Asphyxia or Hypoxia?
The following can result in these medical conditions:
- Airways blocked in the baby
- Baby's airway is not properly formed
- Too little oxygen in the mother's blood prior to delivery
- Difficulties with the placenta prematurely separating from the womb
- A long or difficult delivery
- Umbilical cord problems during delivery
- High or low blood pressure in the mother
- Anemia in the baby where the baby's blood cells do not carry enough oxygen
What You Should Look for
When suffering from asphyxia or hypoxia, a baby could be manifesting the following symptoms:
- Not breathing or very weak breathing
- Abnormal breathing
- Poor blood circulation
- Lack of energy (lethargy)
- Low blood pressure
- Not urinating
- Blood clotting abnormalities
- Skin color is bluish, gray or lighter than normal
- Low heart rate
- Poor muscle tone
- Weak reflexes
- Too much acid in the baby's blood (acidosis)
- The baby's first stool shows evidence of amniotic fluid stain
If you suspect that medical malpractice might have been a factor in your child’s care, consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP , we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns.