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The causes of birth asphyxia

Birth asphyxia occurs in approximately four of every 1,000 full-term births around the United States. It may happen more frequently during premature births. New York couples who are expecting a child may want to learn more about this potentially troublesome birth injury.

Birth asphyxia occurs when a baby's brain and other organs are deprived of oxygen before, during or immediately after birth. When the brain does not receive enough oxygen, waste builds up in the cells and may cause temporary or permanent brain damage. Typical causes of birth asphyxia include long and difficult deliveries, problems with the umbilical cord, a serious infection in the baby or mother, the placenta separating from the uterus too soon, high or low blood pressure in the mother and the baby's airway being blocked.

A newborn baby's prognosis depends on how long and severe the birth asphyxia is and how soon proper treatment is given. There are two stages of birth asphyxia. The first stage involves the cell damage that is suffered during oxygen deprivation. The second stage, known as "reperfusion injury," occurs once oxygen is restored and toxins are released from the damaged cells. This stage can last for days or weeks. Newborns with mild to moderate asphyxia may fully recover. However, infants who undergo long periods of oxygen deprivation may suffer permanent damage to their brain, heart, kidneys, bowels, lungs and other organs. Birth asphyxia in premature babies may lead to cerebral palsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, developmental issues or impaired vision.

Parents whose child suffered a birth injury such as asphyxia due to a negligent doctor may want to speak with a medical malpractice attorney. It may be advisable to file a lawsuit against the health care practitioner and facility seeking financial compensation for the damages that have been sustained.

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