A diagnosis of perinatal asphyxia can mean a lifetime of specialized care for your newborn. Understanding what treatment options are available following a perinatal asphyxia diagnosis can help you provide the best care for your son or daughter. Available treatment options can range from blood transfusions to resuscitation. Other treatment options might include one or…
What Is Perinatal Asphyxia?
Perinatal asphyxia is a serious medical condition present at birth that can leave your child struggling to breathe on their own. It can also leave your child with serious impairments that might be temporary, might last a lifetime, or might even be life-threatening for your new baby.
Perinatal asphyxia is the result of a lack of oxygen during the birth process. It can occur before, during, or immediately after the birth of your baby. Your baby’s diminished intake of oxygen might result in chemical changes in his body that include low levels of oxygen and too much acid build-up in his blood.
Some contributing causes of perinatal asphyxia include placental abruption, umbilical cord obstruction, abnormal fetal development, severe infections in your unborn child, exposure to certain drugs prior to birth, or severe maternal hemorrhage or illness. In some instances, the underlying cause of perinatal asphyxia can never be medically determined.
Symptoms of Perinatal Asphyxia
Many—but not all—of the symptoms of perinatal asphyxia will be immediately obvious and easily recognizable at birth. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- An abnormal fetal heart rate
- Low pH levels that indicate too much acid
- Poor skin color
- Low heart rate
- Poor muscle tone
- Poor breathing
- Meconium stained amniotic fluid
- A five-minute Apgar score lower than three
- Neurologic problems
- Difficulty with organ systems
If a member of your labor and delivery team notices any of the symptoms of perinatal asphyxia in your newborn, steps will be taken to stabilize your son or daughter and prepare an immediate and long-term treatment plan.
Treatments Are Available for Perinatal Asphyxia
Prior to the delivery of your baby, treatments for perinatal asphyxia might include providing you with extra oxygen prior to delivery. Your doctor might also recommend an emergency or C-section delivery, assistance breathing, or specific medications.
After your child is delivered, treatments for perinatal asphyxia might include revival or resuscitation using a resuscitation bag and mask or a breathing tube. If your newborn’s perinatal asphyxia is caused by rapid blood loss, he might go into shock. A newborn in shock will require immediate intravenous fluids and possibly blood transfusions.
When Perinatal Asphyxia Harms Your Baby’s Organs
If your newborn is diagnosed with perinatal asphyxia, he might show signs of brain damage. Your newborn might also exhibit the following signs of injury to one or more of his organ systems:
- Heart – poor coloring and low blood pressure
- Lungs – trouble breathing and low oxygen levels
- Brain – signs of lethargy, seizures, or coma
- Kidneys – a reduced output of urine
- Liver – noticeable difficulty digesting milk
- Blood forming system – low platelet count and bleeding
Your new baby might need medications that will help their heart function along with a mechanical ventilator that supports their breathing. Some newborns might benefit from having their body temperature intentionally cooled for several days, then slowly raised to the normal body temperature of 98.6°.
Blood cell transfusions and plasma may help manage problems with your baby’s blood-forming system. Most of your baby’s organs that sustain damage due to perinatal asphyxia will recover within a one-week timeframe.
Placental abruption happens when your placenta prematurely detaches from its normal position on the wall of your uterus. This usually occurs after the twentieth week of your pregnancy. Your placenta can partially or completely detach and cause your uterus to bleed reducing your unborn baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients. When your placenta detaches too soon, your unborn child might not grow normally. Placental abruption can also end in a fetal fatality.
Perinatal Asphyxia as a Birth Injury
A birth injury is a damage that occurs as the result of physical pressure during labor and delivery which usually happens as your baby passes through the birth canal. Birth injuries in newborns can result in a variety of injuries and disorders. One of those birth injuries is perinatal asphyxia, which results in a decrease in the blood flow and oxygen in your baby's tissues and brain that can happen either before, during, or after delivery.
A Birth Injury Lawyer Can Help You Build a Solid Case
If your child was diagnosed with perinatal asphyxia, you might be entitled to file a birth injury lawsuit. A birth injury lawsuit due to perinatal asphyxia can help you afford the cost of current and upcoming medical expenses for your child. Your newborn deserves the medical care that will lead to a favorable prognosis.
An attorney can help you receive the monetary award you deserve to provide your son or daughter with the medical services they deserve. When you are ready to hold the right people responsible for your child’s perinatal asphyxia, contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to speak with a lawyer in your area today.
Perinatal asphyxia can be either complete, with no oxygen getting to the brain and vital organs, or partial. Partial asphyxia is known as hypoxia, while a total lack of oxygen is anoxia. In addition, perinatal asphyxia can occur either prenatally or immediately after birth. Prenatal asphyxia may occur because of a problem with the placenta…