During the delivery process, an infant’s brain may not receive enough oxygen. This condition is known as hypoxia. If a baby does not receive treatment, he or she may develop a brain injury.
Several elements of the birthing process may cause an infant to develop hypoxia. According to FindLaw, babies may experience a lack of oxygen if the umbilical cord causes an injury. The rupturing of the placenta or infection may also cause this condition. Sometimes, an infant’s shoulder may get stuck during the birthing process. This situation may also cause a baby to experience oxygen deprivation.
How does hypoxia affect infants?
Hypoxia can have a severe effect on babies if medical professionals do not take immediate action. Some children may experience cognitive deficiencies. Additionally, they may develop neurological disorders like cerebral palsy or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
How do doctors diagnose and treat hypoxia?
There are several signs that indicate an infant may have hypoxia. According to the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital, babies with hypoxia may fail to react to sounds and sights. They may also experience feeding problems or move abnormally. As soon as doctors notice these symptoms, they should diagnose the infant and begin treatment.
Medical professionals usually treat this condition through brain cooling. This allows them to reduce the swelling in the brain so the infant does not sustain a permanent injury. Babies may spend up to three days on a cooling blanket. Doctors may also monitor a baby’s brain activity.
If doctors quickly identify the hypoxia and begin treatment, an infant can usually experience a full recovery. It is more likely that infants will develop a more serious condition if medical professionals wait too long to begin treatment.