During labor and delivery, your child is at risk of sustaining injuries that could affect them for the rest of their lives. Even a small mistake or oversight could leave your baby with a permanent birth injury. Perinatal asphyxia is one of the most common birth injuries in the United States. Learn more about perinatal asphyxia, its causes, and consequences in today’s blog.
What is perinatal asphyxia?
Perinatal asphyxia refers to a lack of adequate oxygen flow to your baby’s brain. It can occur at any time before, during, or shortly after birth and can range from mild to severe depending on how long oxygen is deprived. Mild cases of perinatal asphyxia rarely cause ongoing complications but severe instances can lead to seizures, paralysis, cerebral palsy, limited intellectual and cognitive abilities, and permanent cognitive defects. Perinatal asphyxia occurs in around 2 out of every 1000 births and is much more likely to arise in premature deliveries.
What causes perinatal asphyxia?
The most likely cause of perinatal asphyxia is an unexpected drop in the mother’s blood pressure during labor and delivery which can be caused by factors such as hypotension and too much anasethsia. This impedes the flow of blood from the mother to the infant’s brain which can cause permanent brain injury if allowed to continue for too long. Perinatal asphyxia can also be caused by an umbilical cord getting wrapped around a baby’s neck which can cause choking and difficulty breathing.
Can perinatal asphyxia be the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit?
During labor and delivery, it is important that medical staff constantly monitor the baby for signs of fetal distress which can indicate perinatal asphyxia. If your physician or caretakers ignored warning signs or delayed care until after damage was already caused then this may provide grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.