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Hypoxia: what it is, and how to prevent it

Hypoxia is a type of birth injury that all expectant mothers in Arizona should watch out for. The condition arises when a baby suffers a shortage of oxygen before, during, or after delivery, and if not treated promptly, it can lead to cognitive deficits, cerebral palsy, and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a condition in the brain caused by asphyxia.

The possible causes of hypoxia are many. It could result from infection, an abnormality in the blood vessels of the brain, an umbilical cord injury, or prolapse of the umbilical cord. In a condition known as placental abruption, the placenta could separate from the uterus during the third trimester, endangering both mother and child. Also, the placenta could be rendered unable to supply enough oxygen and nutrients to the child. Other risk factors include congenital heart disease and the collapse of blood vessels in the heart. Shoulder dystocia is a danger that arises during labor, as the baby's shoulder gets caught behind the mother's pubic bone.

When hypoxia is discovered, the baby must usually be resuscitated. To regulate oxygen flow, the baby may have to be treated for hyperthermia or hypothermia and have his or her fluid intake regulated. Cooling therapy is a popular treatment, where babies are placed in a plastic blanket circulating with cool water. It can slow down brain swelling and cell death.

When hypoxia develops into a permanent birth injury, it could be the fault of the medical professionals who assisted in the delivery. A failure to detect it in time could in some cases constitute medical malpractice. Parents whose child has been harmed in this way might want to meet with an attorney to see what options are available.

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Law Offices of Raymond J. Slomski, P.C.

2929 North Central Avenue Suite 700 Phoenix, AZ 85012 Phone: 602-635-7603 Fax: 602-230-8707 Phoenix Law Office Map