Fetal distress usually occurs when the fetus is not receiving enough oxygen, and the risks include perinatal asphyxia and cerebral palsy. Even before they are born, your baby’s system will fight for itself. When they feel the first signs of asphyxia, something disrupting their oxygen supply, their system will try to fight off the negative effects of the condition. Doctors can usually tell when there are risks of fetal distress to the fetus because their monitor will show signs of a rise or fall in their heartbeat.
Fetal monitoring is used to detect your baby’s heart rate during your labor. When your child does not get a sufficient amount of oxygen before their birth, they might suffer from fetal distress, a condition often identified by an anomaly in their heart rate.
Depending on its cause, perinatal asphyxia, the result of too little blood flow to your baby’s tissues or too little oxygen to their blood—may increase their need for resuscitation. Perinatal asphyxia might also increase your baby’s risk of shock, their need for intravenous fluids or blood transfusion, and permanent brain damage that ranges from mild learning disorders to delayed development to cerebral palsy. Sadly, some infants who suffer from perinatal asphyxia will be unable to survive.
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Symptoms and Treatment of Perinatal Asphyxia
When your baby starts to show signs of perinatal asphyxia, it means their oxygen is being cut off. The symptoms of this type of asphyxia can be hard to see at first but might include things like a heartbeat that suddenly speeds up or slows down. Other signs include discoloration of the newborn’s skin, trouble breathing, and floppy muscles.
Treatments for perinatal asphyxia may include supplying you with extra oxygen prior to your baby’s delivery, emergency delivery via C-section, and the use of a mechanical breathing machine.
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Common Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy, a group of symptoms that involve difficulty moving and muscle stiffness, can result from brain malformations that occur before birth as your baby’s brain is developing. Additional causes of cerebral palsy may include:
- Infections and brain malformations
- Brain damage resulting from oxygen deprivation
Cerebral palsy is not a disease but a group of symptoms that result in damage to the parts of your baby’s brain that control their muscle movements. In some cases, children with cerebral palsy might also have abnormalities in other parts of their brain. Once the brain damage that causes cerebral palsy has occurred, it will not worsen but its symptoms might change as your child grows and matures.
Typical Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
The symptoms of cerebral palsy in your child can range from barely perceptible clumsiness to significant difficulty moving their limbs to paralysis and stiff joints. Additional symptoms include:
- Intellectual disabilities
- Behavioral problems
- Difficulty seeing
- Difficulty hearing
- Seizure disorders
If you notice any of the symptoms of cerebral palsy in your child, bring them to your pediatrician’s attention for a comprehensive and definitive diagnosis.
Treatment and Prognosis For Children With Cerebral Palsy
The prognosis for your child will depend on the type of cerebral palsy they are diagnosed with and the level of severity. With appropriate treatment, many children with cerebral palsy can lead a near-normal life. Treatment for cerebral palsy might include:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Medication to reduce muscle spasticity
Some children with cerebral palsy may also require surgery. Your child’s doctor and other members of his medical team will be able to explain their treatment options and prognosis.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
A child with spastic cerebral palsy will have muscles that are stiff and weak. A child with athetoid cerebral palsy may exhibit involuntary writhing movements. A child with ataxic cerebral palsy will have difficulty controlling and coordinating the movements of their body, particularly when it comes to walking.
A child with mixed cerebral palsy will display the symptoms of two different types of cerebral palsy, typically, spastic and athetoid. This type of cerebral palsy often occurs in many children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Children with mixed types of cerebral palsy might also have intellectual disabilities.
A Birth Injury Lawyer Can Provide the Guidance You Need
It can be stressful and challenging when you are forced to confront the risks of fetal distress to the fetus during your labor and delivery. If the birth of your child was complicated by fetal distress, you can be faced with a sudden flurry of medical activity and a growing fear for the health and the safe delivery of your unborn infant.
Your attorney can help you assign liability and hold the right people responsible for their role in your child’s current condition. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to be connected to a birth injury lawyer near you.