Hypoxia or Birth asphyxia occurs when an infant does not receive an adequate supply of oxygen before, during, or immediately following birth. Although many babies receive a smaller supply of oxygen during the birth process, the uterus provides a reserve supply of oxygen and blood to the infant through the placenta.
Most babies who experience hypoxia can be treated with some stimulation after birth and rarely suffer any major injury to the brain. However, birth asphyxia can result in temporary or permanent damage to the infant. The amount of harm to the baby depends on how long the baby is deprived of an adequate supply of oxygen, how severe the asphyxia is, and how soon the correct treatment is given. If the infant's cells were deprived an adequate supply of oxygen for a short period of time, the baby should fully recover; however, if the infant's cells were deprived of the proper supply of oxygen for a longer period of time, permanent damage to the baby's brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and other organs may result.
Birth asphyxia may cause permanent and severe damage leading to cerebral palsy, developmental delays, paralysis, and other lifelong problems, even death. Birth asphyxia and hypoxia can be caused by compression of the umbilical cord during labor or delivery, insufficient oxygen in the mother's blood before or during childbirth, separation of the placenta before delivery, incorrect blood pressure in the mother, serious infections, a lengthy and complicated birth process, or the baby's airway is blocked.
These are just some of the problems that can cause hypoxia or birth asphyxia in an infant before or during birth. This illustrates why it is critical that doctors and nurses properly monitor the infant using a fetal heart rate monitor. The fetal heart rate monitor measures the infant's heart rate during labor. If a medical emergency occurs that deprives the baby of a proper supply of blood or oxygen, the fetal heart rate monitor can alert the medical staff so they can take immediate action to prevent permanent damage to the infant. If the medical staff negligently fails to monitor the fetal heart rate monitor or ignores the warning signs, the baby can be affected by birth injuries that will permanently affect the child for life; in the worst case, the baby will die.
If the baby is suffering from birth asphyxia and treatment is not resolving the problem, a C-Section may need to be immediately performed. Most hospitals can perform a C-section within 30 minutes from a doctor's notification; however, if the infant is suffering from severe hypoxia or asphyxia, permanent brain damage can occur within 17 minutes. If you or someone you care about suffered a birth injury from medical negligence, you may have a medical malpractice case. Contact Dr. Bruce Fagel right away for a free consultation.
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