Perinatal Asphyxia

Perinatal asphyxia happens when a baby doesn’t breathe normally just before, during, or after birth.  This happens when something affects the blood flow to the bay and impacts oxygenation. Then, if the mother’s blood pressure drops or there are problems with the uterus, placenta, or umbilical cord, the baby may experience birth asphyxia. Complete placental abruption or umbilical cord compression can completely deprive the baby of oxygen-rich blood.  

Risk Factors with Perinatal Asphyxia

There are a few risk factors that can lead to this condition. These risks include:

  • Elderly or young mothers

  • Antepartum and intrapartum anemia

  • Severe eclampsia and pre-eclampsia

  • Antepartum hemorrhage

  • Augmentation of labor with oxytocin

  • Malpresentation

  • Low birth weight infants

  • Lack of antenatal care

  • Multiple births

  • Meconium-stained fluid

  • Prolonged rupture of membranes

Perinatal Asphyxia Causes

There are a number of ways the baby could stop breathing. Sometimes it’s related to a prolapsed umbilical cord. This is when the cord comes out before the baby does. Sometimes, it’s related to the umbilical cord being pinched somehow. A baby can stop breathing because of Meconium Aspiration Syndrome. This syndrome happens when the baby is stressed, defecates meconium, and breathes it in either before, during, or just after vaginal delivery. Sometimes a child is born prematurely (before 37 weeks) with under developed lungs. This results in the inability to breathe on the baby’s own. 


The symptoms of a child not breathing are pretty obvious. If the child is crying and breathing normally, he or she does not have it, but if a child is silent, limp, blue, or has trouble breathing (including rapid breathing), it’s fairly obvious that the child has the condition.

Babies who have brain damage caused by birth asphyxia may develop:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • Motor disorders
  • Developmental delays
  • Speech delays
  • Learning disabilities
  • Behavioral and emotional disorders
  • Hearing impairments
  • Visual impairments
  • Feeding problems, nutritional concerns, and oral health issues
  • Pain symptoms
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Skin issues
  • Orthopedic issues
  • Mental health conditions


When a child is born with mild asphyxia, medical professionals usually immediately start breathing support. Babies with more serious asphyxia may need:

  • A breathing machine (mechanical ventilation)
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Fluid
  • Medicine to control blood pressure
  • Medicine to prevent seizures
  • Using intravenous (IV) nutrition to give their bowel time to recover

Costs Associated with Birth Injuries

Birth injuries are often lifelong complications that require consistent medical treatment and rehabilitation. Depending upon the severity of the injuries, the financial costs associated with birth injuries can range from several thousands to over a million during the lifespan of a child with birth injuries.

For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lifetime costs associated with a child who has cerebral palsy (CP) is around $1 million. The costs associated with a child who suffers hearing loss after a birth injury typically ranges around $400,00.

It is important to remember that if your child’s birth injuries are a result of medical negligence and carelessness, the medical staff, hospital, and/or physician may be liable for damages. A complex litigation attorney can help. At The Michael Brady Lynch Firm, our lawyers have decades of experience helping injured people get justice and full compensation for injuries caused negligence. The Michel Brady Lynch Firm regularly takes on the largest corporations in the world with a track records of proven success and results. Contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm today, and our attorneys will review your case for free and help you protect your rights. For your complimentary consultation, call our office now.

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