At Piscitelli Law Firm in Ohio, we understand that birth injuries can be some of the most distressing events families may experience, particularly when the outcome affects the child’s health for the rest of his or her life. Your doctor has a duty of care to identify risk factors that could harm your baby.

According to Healthline, four of every 1,000 full-term infants do not get enough oxygen during the birth process, a condition known as asphyxia neonatorum. A very brief lack of oxygen may not cause any health problems, but the longer the baby goes without oxygen, the higher the chances he or she will have brain damage or major organ failure.

Many of the issues that lead to birth asphyxia are treatable. It could happen if one or more of these is an issue:

  • You have high or low blood pressure during delivery
  • You do not get enough oxygen during delivery or before
  • You or your baby gets an infection
  • The umbilical cord wraps around your baby
  • Your baby has a blocked airway
  • Your baby has anemia

If your placenta separates too quickly from your uterus, this could also cause an oxygen loss that affects your baby. You may develop complications that lead to asphyxia if your delivery is difficult or lasts too long. Premature babies and babies whose mothers have preeclampsia or diabetes during pregnancy are at higher risk for asphyxia neonatorum.

Symptoms of asphyxia may be immediate, such as pale or blue skin, difficulty breathing, weak muscle tone or slow heart rate. Your doctor should provide an Apgar score for your baby in the first five minutes after the birth. If this score is low, it could indicate that your baby did not get enough oxygen. The doctor may test your child’s blood for abnormal acid levels.

More information about preventable birth injuries is available on our webpage.