Lack of oxygen at birth and the threat of infant brain damage

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2022 | Birth Injuries

Every mother wants her baby to live a long, healthy life, but serious health issues can occur for newborns.

Medical malpractice during delivery can cause an infant to suffer a lack of oxygen, and, in turn, the possibility of brain damage.

Anoxia and hypoxia

In the United States, over a million people suffer from some kind of brain damage. Many of these people are infants who experience brain damage either during delivery or soon after birth. Among the leading causes is newborn asphyxia, or lack of oxygen of which there are two different kinds. Hypoxia occurs when the infant has an insufficient amount of oxygen resulting in brain damage that is usually mild to moderate. Anoxia refers to a total lack of oxygen, which can cause severe brain damage. Both can lead to cerebral palsy and other serious medical issues.

Reasons for insufficient oxygen

A knotted, twisted or prolapsed umbilical cord can cut off the oxygen supply to an infant. The baby could also get stuck in the birth canal during difficult labor. In addition, mucous can block the baby’s airways if it builds up in the lungs. And if the separation between the placenta and uterus occurs too quickly, the baby may not get a sufficient amount of oxygen.

Treatment lapses

A newborn should not have to deal with a lack of oxygen during the birth process or immediately thereafter. The medical team attending the birth should always be alert to potential issues. With correct monitoring and timely treatment, newborn asphyxia will not occur, and the infant will avoid the threat of brain damage.


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