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Understanding birth injury from perinatal asphyxia

Newton parents who are expecting a child must always bear in mind that there is the possibility of a birth injury occurring. These injuries can happen while the mother is pregnant or during the delivery process. In some instances, the doctors and medical staff could have done something to prevent it. In other cases, the medical professionals might even have made a mistake to cause it. One health issue that can occur with a baby is perinatal asphyxia.

During the birth process, if the baby doesn't receive enough oxygen at any time, perinatal asphyxia can result. There are numerous issues that can accompany this including hypoxemia, which is a low level of oxygen in the blood. Another problem could be acidosis, which is a surplus of acid in the blood. It might not be initially clear that the baby is suffering from perinatal asphyxia. There are certain symptoms that will arise and they could be signals that something is amiss. These include low pH levels and a fetal heart rate that is considered abnormal. The baby's skin color might be poor after birth. He or she might have trouble breathing or weakness in muscle tone.

It is up to the medical staff to diagnose whether or not the baby has perinatal asphyxia. If there are acid levels that are considered severe, it is a troubling sign. If the Apgar score - a test given to a baby when first born to determine its viability and health - is found to be between 0 to 3 for greater than five minutes, this is an indication that the baby might have perinatal asphyxia.

There are strategies to avoid this including performing a Cesarean section, giving the mother extra oxygen, using a respirator or prescribing medication. If, however, the medical staff missed the signs of a potential issue with the child before or during the delivery process, more serious injury can occur. Permanent disability and massive medical costs are possible following a birth injury. When parents believe that the medical professionals made an error, it's wise to discuss the matter with a lawyer to understand available legal options.

Source: Johns Hopkins Children's Center, "Perinatal Asphyxia," accessed on May 12, 2015

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