Understanding Perinatal Asphyxia: What You Should Know

What is Perinatal asphyxia?

Perinatal asphyxia is a serious condition in which an infant's brain and other organs do not receive enough oxygen during childbirth. It can result in permanent disability and even death.

Parents and healthcare providers must understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment of perinatal asphyxia to ensure that an infant's health is properly monitored and managed before, during, and after birth.

Common Symptoms of Perinatal Asphyxia

Awareness of the common symptoms is important for the early identification and management of the Perinatal Asphyxia condition.

  • Fetal Signs of Perinatal Asphyxia: These include a decrease in fetal heart rate, abnormal heartbeats, decreased or absent fetal movements, and increased fetal acidosis (increased blood acidity). Knowing the signs of foetal distress may help the clinical team take swift action to minimise the potential impact of this condition.
  • Newborn Signs of Perinatal Asphyxia These include low Apgar scores, poor muscle tone, a lack of normal reflexes, seizures, pale or mottled skin, changes in body temperature, and respiratory distress. Identifying these symptoms as soon as possible is important, as they indicate an immediate need for medical attention.

Causes of Perinatal Asphyxia

Causes of perinatal asphyxia include:

  • Problems with the placental lining impair oxygen delivery to the baby: Placental insufficiency occurs when the placenta cannot provide enough oxygen. This can be due to preeclampsia, placental abruption, or umbilical cord abnormalities.
  • Prolonged labour: When labour is too long, the baby can become stressed and run out of oxygen. This can be caused by several factors, such as the size of the baby, the position of the baby, or the size of the mother’s pelvis.
  • Infections: Maternal infections can cause inflammation in the placenta and interfere with oxygen delivery to the baby.
  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause placental insufficiency, resulting in insufficient oxygen supply to the baby.
  • Uterine rupture: Uterine rupture is a rare but serious complication of pregnancy that can lead to perinatal asphyxia. Uterine rupture occurs when the uterus tears along its entire length, causing the placenta to separate from the uterus. This can cause severe bleeding and significantly reduce the baby’s oxygen supply.

When should I see a doctor?

If your newborn baby shows signs of perinatal asphyxia, it is important to seek medical help immediately. Perinatal asphyxia can lead to serious, lifelong complications. An experienced doctor is best equipped to diagnose, manage and treat the condition.


It is important to seek remedies and treatment if a newborn is at risk of developing this condition.

  • Oxygen Supplementation: If a baby is born with Perinatal Asphyxia, the first action is to provide oxygen supplementation. This is done by providing oxygen and other gases through the nose, mouth, or the umbilical cord if it is still attached.
  • Anti-Seizure Medication: Seizures are common in infants with Perinatal Asphyxia and may be caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. Anti-seizure medication can help reduce the risk of seizures.
  • Monitoring: Monitoring should be done to ensure that the baby is stable and receiving enough oxygen. This can be done by monitoring vital signs and other indicators such as oxygen saturation, respiration rate, and heart rate.
  • Early Detection: Early detection is key to preventing or reducing the severity of Perinatal Asphyxia. Therefore, it is important to get regular check-ups to ensure that the baby is healthy and is not at risk of developing the condition.
  • Proper Nutrition: Proper nutrition is essential in preventing or reducing the severity of Perinatal Asphyxia. Mothers should ensure they consume healthy, balanced meals throughout their pregnancy to provide the necessary nutrients to their babies.
  • Avoiding Risk Factors: It is important to avoid risk factors that can increase the likelihood of a baby developing Perinatal Asphyxia. These risk factors include smoking, substance abuse, and pre-existing conditions like diabetes.

Perinatal asphyxia is a serious condition that can lead to long-term disability or death. Parents and healthcare providers must know this condition's causes, signs, and treatments to monitor and manage an infant's health properly.

With the right information, healthcare providers and parents can work together to ensure all infants start healthy.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru - Jayanagar. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. What tests are used to diagnose Perinatal Asphyxia?

Tests used to diagnose Perinatal Asphyxia include blood tests, an electroencephalogram, and imaging tests such as an MRI or CT scan.

2. How is Perinatal Asphyxia treated?

Perinatal Asphyxia is treated with oxygen, respiratory support, and other medications, depending on the severity of the condition.

3. How can Perinatal Asphyxia be prevented?

Perinatal Asphyxia can be prevented by ensuring proper maternal care during pregnancy and at the time of delivery and being mindful of potential risk factors such as prematurity and pregnancy-related conditions like preeclampsia.

4. What long-term effects can Perinatal Asphyxia have?

Long-term effects of Perinatal Asphyxia can include developmental delays, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, and seizures.

Book an Appointment




Pregnancy Calculator