Newborn asphyxia happens more often than you might think

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2021 | Birth Injuries, Blog

Most of the time, an infant is born without undue complications, much to the relief of the family.

However, lack of oxygen is a problem that occurs to a surprising number of newborns and requires immediate medical intervention.

Overview of birth injuries

Of the 1 million people with brain damage in the U.S., the majority are infants. According to information provided in the Journal of Neuroradiology, 2 to 10 newborns out of every 1,000 experience some level of asphyxia. The infant may have hypoxia, which is an insufficient amount of oxygen, or anoxia, a total lack of oxygen. Both can lead to brain damage, cerebral palsy and other disorders.

Umbilical cord issues and more

A twisted or prolapsed umbilical cord can cut off oxygen supply. Unfortunately, a doctor will sometimes cut the umbilical cord before the infant has begun to breathe on its own. Lack of oxygen can also occur if the baby gets stuck in the birth canal, which can happen during difficult labor. In this situation, the infant is also at risk for limb injuries or Erb’s palsy. Another possibility for oxygen deprivation occurs when mucous becomes lodged in the infant’s lungs.

Steps to take

When an infant is experiencing a lack of oxygen, the medical team must act quickly to prevent serious consequences, such as brain damage. Mistakes include insufficient attention to fetal monitoring strips or a delay in providing others the information required to minimize birth complications. If a mistake caused by doctors or other medical personnel leads to a brain injury or other birth issue, the family can hold the negligent professionals accountable and seek maximum compensation for the harm the baby suffered.

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