Women who experience normal pregnancies can have abnormal deliveries. One of the serious complications that can arise for the baby is birth asphyxia.
Birth asphyxia is defined as a lack of blood flow or oxygen reaching the baby's brain. It occurs when the baby's brain, as well as other organs, are deprived of oxygen before, during or immediately after birth. As a result, acids – which are waste products – accumulate in the cells, which is damaging to the baby.
The effect on the newborn depends on factors such as how long the baby was deprived of adequate oxygen, the oxygen level and how quickly the issue is recognized and treated.
Babies born with a mild or moderate form of asphyxia can have a full recovery. For the babies who were deprived of oxygen for a longer period of time, their issues could be permanent and affect the function of not only their brains but also their kidneys, heart, bowels, lungs and other organs.
Just what causes birth asphyxia?
- A long or difficult delivery
- The mother's blood having too little oxygen during childbirth or just before giving birth
- Premature separation of the placenta from the womb
- Issues with the umbilical cord during delivery
- The mother's blood pressure
- An infection affecting the mother or baby
- Blockage or malformation of the baby's airway
Regardless of the cause, children affected by birth asphyxia will need continued and costly medical and personal care throughout their lives. Some of the causes are preventable during childbirth, and in some cases, the doctor and delivery room team could have made different decisions to change the outcome of the baby's birth. If you believe that to be the case in your circumstance, an attorney experienced in cases involving birth injuries can discuss your options with you.