According to a study published in the International Journal of Pediatrics, doctors and researchers classify fetal hypoxia into three subtypes:
- Preplacental Hypoxia: Both the mother and the baby suffer symptoms of hypoxia
- Uteroplacental Hypoxia: The mother does not suffer symptoms of hypoxia, but there is a problem with the placenta or circulation related to the placenta
- Post-Placental Hypoxia: Only the baby has symptoms of hypoxia, and it occurs without involving the placenta
While the outcome and lasting effects of all three types of fetal hypoxia can be similar, the diagnosis and how they are treated are sometimes different.
Possible Effects of Different Types of Fetal Hypoxia on Your Baby
Babies who experience any type of fetal hypoxia during early pregnancy or through the second trimester may not reach their full growth potential they would have without the complication. In fact, some babies with fetal hypoxia are diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction. This condition can both cause and be a result of decreased oxygenation.
Other complications related to any type of fetal hypoxia include:
- Metabolic concerns
- Hematologic conditions
- Damage to vital organs
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
According to Benioff Children’s Hospital, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a type of brain damage caused by hypoxia. It can lead to many lifelong problems for children. This may include:
- Intellectual disabilities and other cognitive dysfunction
- Behavioral concerns
- Cerebral palsy
All types of hypoxia, including both chronic hypoxia during development and acute hypoxia during delivery, can cause changes in the tissues of the heart that alter function. These children may be at an increased risk of cardiovascular issues later in life.
Diagnosis and Treatment of the Different Types of Fetal Hypoxia
The different types of fetal hypoxia often require different treatments. Those that affect the mother should improve when the mother’s condition improves. For example, when she receives treatment for a problem with her heart. Some conditions related to the placenta may also improve based on the treatment of the mother’s condition, such as preeclampsia.
If the mother does not improve, or if the condition stems from a problem with the placenta, it may be safer for the baby to delivery early than to remain in the womb with chronic hypoxia. This is often the case with placental insufficiency.
When a baby is born after suffering chronic or acute hypoxia, it is imperative that doctors take quick action to secure their airway. If the child is full-term, they may benefit from lowering their body temperature to reduce the brain damage they suffer. This is one of the best ways to mitigate the effects of hypoxia in some infants.
Ongoing Care for Children Who Suffered Fetal Hypoxia
The damage done by fetal hypoxia depends on many factors and can vary widely. Many have no lasting effects that impact their everyday life while others require special education and assistance with activities of daily living.
Children may require ongoing care and monitoring, as well as therapy and medication, if they have cerebral palsy, epilepsy, developmental delays, or other impairments.
You May Be Eligible to Pursue Legal Action Against the Doctor or Hospital
Many cases of fetal hypoxia are preventable or the damage can be limited with a quick diagnosis and treatment. Doctors have a duty to offer an accurate diagnosis and prompt care. If you believe your newborn suffered hypoxia because of a birth injury, missed diagnosis, or another type of medical negligence, you should discuss your legal options with an attorney in your state.
Your attorney can explain your rights and the strength of your case, and help you pursue compensation by holding the doctor or hospital liable. Each state has its own statute of limitations that limits how long you have to file a lawsuit in this type of case, so it is important to get started as soon as possible.
Talk to a Birth Injury Attorney About Your Fetal Hypoxia Case
If your newborn suffered effects from fetal hypoxia and you wonder if the doctor or hospital could have prevented it, reach out to the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today. A member of the team will discuss your child’s case with you and help you connect with a birth injury attorney taking on this type of case in your state. This attorney will review your case for free.
Call today at (800) 222-9529 to get started.