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What is perinatal asphyxia and how is it caused?

Birth injures are tragic and often unexpected. Parents are left with the realization that their children may need specialized care for life because of a simple mistake or error that could have been prevented. One kind of birth injury that is particularly harmful to a child is known as perinatal asphyxia.

This condition is when the child receives too little blood to his or her tissues. It can also mean that there wasn't enough oxygen in the blood that was circulating through the baby or fetus's body. There are some natural causes of this condition, like genetic abnormalities, but there are also causes that can be prevented.

Some of the possible causes of this condition include sudden loss of blood, like in the case of a mother being seriously injured or the baby being hurt in the womb, an infection or exposure to a number of medications before birth. Pressure on the umbilical cord or a blood clot can also lead to asphyxia.

In some cases, your doctor could be to blame for your child's condition. For example, if the doctor waits too long to deliver the child, he or she could suffer from asphyxia. If the doctor prescribes medications that are contraindicated during pregnancy, then the use of those medications could be why your child has suffered.

If a link can be shown between your child's medical condition and the treatment your medical provider has given you, you may be able to file a medical malpractice case. Not all children who suffer this condition need lifelong help, and many do recover, but permanent damage is a possibility that you need to consider.

Source: Merck Manual, "Perinatal Asphyxia," accessed Dec. 20, 2016

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