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What is perinatal asphyxia?

Expectant parents like yourself in Bozeman typically go into their deliveries with excitement, not apprehension. While no one wants to temper your anticipation, it should still be remembered that childbirth is a complicated process, during which provider errors may occur that cause injuries to your baby. One such complication observed before and during delivery is perinatal asphyxia. You may be asking what this condition is, and can it be prevented?

Perinatal asphyxia occurs when your baby is unable to take in enough oxygen. This often occurs when the umbilical cord becomes kinked or pinched, or your baby gets stuck in the birth canal during delivery. If he or she goes for minutes without oxygen, the result may be an anoxic brain injury which could result in brain death. Even a few moments without oxygen can produce injuries such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which can result in your baby developing severe physical and/or cognitive deficits or conditions such as cerebral palsy. Any if these issues could require him or her to receive extensive medical care throughout the rest of his or her life, which may produce enormous medical expenses.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, antepartum indicators of perinatal asphyxia include an elevated fetal heart rate or decreased pH levels. If your doctor recognizes these symptoms in time, they may be combated in one of three ways:

  •          Administering medication
  •          Giving you or your wife extra oxygen during delivery
  •          Progressing to an emergency delivery or C-section

Continuous monitoring during your delivery is required if your providers are to catch a potential episode of perinatal asphyxia in time to address it. If you are were not given that attention, and your baby suffered because of it, you may justly want to know why. 

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