Perinatal asphyxia can lead to severe brain damage and physical challenges for your child. The effects of perinatal asphyxia will vary according to how severe the resulting damage to your child is. Most newborns with perinatal asphyxia will seem ashen, colorless, or pale at birth and might also appear to be limp, flaccid, or lifeless.
Babies with Perinatal Asphyxia Can Be Serious
Your infant might need life-saving resuscitation to improve a very slow heart rate. If resuscitation is required, a bag and mask might be used to force air into your baby’s lungs. If needed, your infant might be resuscitated by the insertion of a breathing tube into his throat. This procedure is called endotracheal intubation.
In addition, if your baby’s perinatal asphyxia was caused by a sudden and excessive loss of blood, they might be in shock at birth. The effects of perinatal asphyxia will result in the immediate need for your child to be given fluids intravenously. Severe cases might also mean your child will require a blood transfusion.
Organ Damage Can Result
If your newborn with perinatal asphyxia begins to show signs of injury to his organ systems—including his heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, liver, and the hematopoiesis (blood-forming) system—he might require specialized medications to restore function. Your son or daughter might also require a mechanical ventilator to support breathing. Blood cell transfusions and plasma might also help your child’s body manage problems in his blood-forming system. Most organ damage caused by perinatal asphyxia improves quickly, often within a single week.
Perinatal Asphyxia Fatalities
Sadly, some infants will be unable to survive the devastating damage caused by perinatal asphyxia. Infants who do survive might have a small amount of brain damage that does not negatively impact their lives or their cognitive function. Some infants will experience moderate to severe brain injuries that will have long-term and potentially permanent brain damage. The results of serious brain damage will run the gamut from mild to moderate learning disorders, developmental delays, and cerebral palsy.
Perinatal asphyxia can vary in degrees from mild, severe, to fatal. Your child might need to be revived immediately following their birth. In some cases, resuscitation efforts will fail, and some newborns will suffer from brain damage so severe that it cannot be overcome. In these cases, a loss of life might occur.
Cerebral palsy is a cognitive disorder that affects your child’s ability to control their movements, muscle tone, and posture. It causes impaired movement, abnormal reflexes, muscles that might appear either floppy or rigid, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, and an unsteady gait as your child grows, develops, and begins to walk.
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage, such as oxygen deprivation, that occurs to your infant’s brain as it develops. The signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy include:
- Stiff muscles
- Lack of balance
- Persistent tremors
- Excessive drooling
- Trouble swallowing
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Difficulty sucking or eating
- Lack of muscle coordination
- Favoring one side of the body
- Delays in gross and fine motor skills
Cerebral palsy can affect one side of your child’s body, or it can affect their entire body. In some cases, it can also be limited to a single limb. Cerebral palsy does not change over time, which means your child’s cerebral palsy will not typically worsen as they age.
The Causes of Perinatal Asphyxia
Perinatal asphyxia is oxygen deprivation that occurs immediately before or after the birth of your new baby. This life-changing lack of oxygen to your child’s brain can lead to lifelong brain damage in your infant. In severe cases, Perinatal asphyxia might even result in the death of your son or daughter.
Perinatal asphyxia is caused by placental abruption, obstruction of your unborn baby’s umbilical cord, abnormal development of your baby prior to its birth, severe infection in your unborn child, exposure to certain drugs prior to delivery, severe cases of maternal hemorrhage, and severe cases of maternal illness.
A Birth Injury Lawyer Will Fight for Your Legal Rights
Learning that your child endured a birth injury is a devastating experience. Learning that the birth injury they endured could have a long-lasting effect can be overwhelming. If complications during the birth of your child led to a diagnosis of perinatal asphyxia, speak to an attorney today to discuss the cause of your child’s condition and your legal options.
When your child is the victim of a birth injury and suffers from the effects of perinatal asphyxia, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit on their behalf. An attorney can help you understand your legal and financial options. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney near you.