The miracle of childbirth is a truly incredible experience. Every future mother hopes that giving birth to her new baby will be smooth. And who wouldn’t? Pregnancy, labor, and childbirth are all difficult experiences. But in the end, it’s all worth it to have a happy and healthy baby. But sometimes, the mother, baby, or both, sustain an injury during delivery. Birth injuries can occur as a result of many different factors. One of the more dangerous injuries is anoxia at birth.
What Is Anoxia at Birth?
In simpler terms, anoxia means the baby has an absence of oxygen. But you can use the term for many scenarios. First, anoxia can refer to an environment without any oxygen. In a medical context, anoxia refers to an absence of oxygen related to organs, muscles, or blood in the human body. And when the baby’s brain is completely deprived of oxygen, this is called cerebral anoxia. This is dangerous to the child, and the severity of the condition hinges on:
- How quickly the medical staff treats the baby.
- Whether or not they give the baby the correct treatment.
- How severe the lack of oxygen is.
- How long the baby goes without oxygen.
While this tragic injury is not common during childbirth, it does sometimes happen. And we’ve discussed what makes the condition better or worse, but what causes it to begin with?
What Causes An Anoxic Brain Injury at Birth?
During the delivery of a baby, something can pinch the umbilical cord. This cuts off the baby’s oxygen and blood supply from the placenta.
If the baby is deprived of oxygen for only a short period of time, this is hypoxia. But if the baby doesn’t get an adequate supply of oxygen for a prolonged period, there’s a risk of an anoxic brain injury.
There are many pregnancy complications that may lead to anoxia at birth. These include:
- Abnormal fetal presentation
- Prolonged labor
- Low levels of amniotic fluid
- Umbilical cord prolapses
- Umbilical cord compression near baby
Some circumstances that cause anoxia at birth are not avoidable. But in some cases, the medical professionals should’ve taken more precautions. Besides these complications, medical errors and negligence can also result in an anoxic brain injury at birth. Some examples include an injury involving forceps or a vacuum, and errors in infant resuscitation.
If you suspect that a medical caused an anoxic brain injury at birth, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer. Birth injury attorneys are highly experienced in these cases, and you can get started with a free consultation to discuss your case.
Finally, anoxia at birth can be a result of health issues within the mother. These conditions may include preeclampsia, obesity, gestational diabetes, infections within the mother, and the mother being older in age.
What Are Some Of The Symptoms?
In severe cases of anoxia at birth, it’s clear that the newborn baby is not breathing. After the baby’s brain has been without oxygen for a certain amount of time, it can’t function. Sometimes this leads to seizures.
But in other cases, a baby may not show any symptoms until months, or even years, later. Many parents don’t recognize a potential birth injury right away. Instead, they notice cognitive difficulties or lack of big milestones in development. Delayed symptoms of anoxia at birth may include:
- Issues with balance
- Movement disorders
- Developmental delays
- Issues with vision
- Difficulties with speech
- Issues with memory loss
If a child displays these symptoms, there is a chance that they had an anoxic brain injury at birth.
Anoxia & Medical Negligence: One Mother’s Tragic Story
In one sad case of anoxia at birth, all seemed to be going well throughout the mother’s pregnancy. Even as she was admitted to the hospital in labor, things were normal. But as her labor pains got much worse, the doctors and nurses in charge of her care didn’t take her seriously. At points, the soon-to-be mother in distress was left alone for over an hour. When a nurse finally came back to check on her, the doctor was notified right away. The baby’s abnormal fetal rate was of concern. Turns out the mother was right, there was something not right with the baby.
The next step? An emergency C-section to deliver the at-risk baby. Turns out, while in utero the baby dealt with severe distress due to hypoxia. The baby’s umbilical cord had been wrapped around its neck, and this cut off the oxygen supply for a period of time. Tragically, this baby suffered a serious anoxic brain injury at birth.
The saddest part of all? This birth injury could have been avoided. The medical professionals responsible for the mother’s care failed to act in time to prevent this anoxic birth injury.
Get Help With An Anoxia At Birth Medical Malpractice Case
Do you have a child or loved one that may have suffered a similar birth injury? Or maybe you know someone that had a similar experience to the case mentioned above? If so, then it’s time to take action. Give Hampton & King a call today to set up your free consultation.