Data from the American Journal of Neuroradiology indicates that lack of oxygen affects as many as two to 10 out of every 1,000 babies. Often this occurs either during delivery or shortly thereafter.

If newborn asphyxia is not treated immediately, the baby may suffer brain damage.

About lack of oxygen

There are two categories of infant brain injury resulting from a lack of oxygen. Hypoxia is when the newborn has an insufficient amount of oxygen. Mild to moderate brain damage will result. On the other hand, anoxia involves a complete lack of oxygen with the prospect of severe brain damage.

What happens

One issue associated with a difficult delivery is that the baby may get stuck in the birth canal. Swift medical intervention is necessary to prevent the baby from losing oxygen. The issue of mucous becoming lodged in the lungs is another concern for lack of oxygen as the result of blocked airways. Again, the medical team must act quickly to prevent serious medical problems.

Physical trauma

Infant brain damage can also occur if the attending doctor pulls too hard during the delivery process or is not careful enough if using tools such as forceps to assist in delivery. A knotted umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck can also compromise the newborn’s oxygen supply. The doctor has only a few minutes to unwrap it in order to prevent harmful lack of oxygen.

Low glucose level

A prolonged, difficult labor and delivery can cause a serious drop in the newborn’s glucose level. If this happens, immediate medical intervention is necessary, or the newborn may suffer brain damage.

Birth injury diagnosis

If you suspect that your baby suffered a birth injury and possible brain damage, explore your legal options. The next step is a proper diagnosis, which may lead to a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the birth of your child. If medical malpractice caused the injury to your baby, you have the right to seek financial compensation.