The Path To Understanding Perinatal Asphyxia Starts Here

What is Perinatal Asphyxia?

Asphyxia is a congenital disability that can result in Cerebral palsy. It is a congenital condition in which a baby suffers from oxygen deprivation. This serious medical condition can cause death if not treated right away. When a fetus or newborn's pulmonary gas exchange is impeded, perinatal asphyxia occurs. Reduced blood oxygen levels are the outcome of this condition. 

Also, brain cells cannot function effectively without oxygen and nutrition. Acid wastes accumulate in these cells to damage them. However, no one can prevent this from occurring. The degree of damage depends on how long your baby is deficient in oxygen. However, effective treatment can reduce brain damage and other complications. 

So, let's explore everything about birth asphyxia, including causes, symptoms, and treatment. 

Causes Of Perinatal Asphyxia 

The main causes of Perinatal asphyxia include maternal and placental problems. Here we've listed the reasons behind a baby's asphyxia. 

  • Placental problems - Acute abruption and rupture 
  • Maternal problems - Amniotic fluid embolism, bleeding, and hemodynamic issues
  • Cord events - Cord avulsion and tight nuchal cord 
  • Intrapartum infection, including maternal fever during labour

Symptoms of Perinatal Asphyxia at the time of birth 

Short-term and long-term symptoms of Perinatal Asphyxia are as follows:

  • Breathing problems like weak breathing
  • Low heart rate
  • Bluish, grey, or normal skin colour 
  • Poor reflexes
  • Weak muscles
  • Amniotic fluid having meconium or first stool
  • High blood acid level or acidosis
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Hyperactivity 
  • Autism spectrum disorder 
  • Less frequent urination 
  • Abnormal blood clotting 
  • Attention deficits

These symptoms will be the basis for your doctor's examination of your baby. While some of these symptoms appear immediately after birth, others take longer. Long-term problems can be decreased with the best treatment.

Complications Of Perinatal Asphyxia 

If your child has birth asphyxia, they may experience the following issues:

  • Mental Impairment 

In severe cases of neonatal asphyxia, a child may experience delayed mental development or even mental retardation.

  • Cerebral Palsy

This syndrome develops when an infant experiences brain injury that hampers their motor skills. However, the precise causes of cerebral palsy are yet unknown. However, an oxygen deficiency may be a contributing factor.

  • Paralysis

When a child experiences prolonged hypoxia and their brain is injured, paralysis may occur.

Diagnosis of Perinatal Asphyxia 

The diagnosis includes the following:

  • Apgar Score 

After birth, your baby will get an Apgar score in the first 1 to 5 minutes. Five components make up this score formula:

Respiration rate, pulse, general appearance, and muscle tone

The scores for each factor are 0, 1, or 2. The maximum potential score is 10. Asphyxia is more likely to occur in a baby who has a lower Apgar score after five minutes. If the result is less than 7, the baby may not get enough oxygen. If your kid has had an Apgar score of 3 or lower for longer than five minutes, the doctor may be concerned that they have Perinatal asphyxia.

  • Blood test

A doctor may examine a baby's blood to check for high levels of acid. This can be a sign of low oxygenation. A doctor could also take blood tests to know the damage in other organs.

Treatment Of Perinatal Asphyxia 

The severity and cause of the birth asphyxia will determine the type of treatment your baby needs. 

  • Cesarean 

If Perinatal asphyxia occurs before delivery, an emergency cesarean delivery will be done. 

  • Suctioning Of Fluids

Suctioning fluid from the airways is done in the case of aspiration syndrome.

  • Respirator 

Placing the newborn on a respirator is also among the immediate therapies. With a bag-and-mask or similar device, doctors will solve the breathing issues of your baby. It is the most important step in treating asphyxiated infants.


It's important to notice Perinatal asphyxia in your child as soon as possible. For better treatment, your doctor may identify the problem during pregnancy. So talk to your doctor to ensure that your baby receives proper treatment.

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

1. Can a baby fully recover from asphyxia?

Babies with any asphyxia may recover completely. However, if the organs lack enough oxygen for longer, your baby may have permanent damage. It can affect the heart, brain, or other organs.

2. How do you know if your baby has brain damage from lack of oxygen?

Your baby may show seizures or muscle spasms. Your child may also develop paralysis.

3. Can lack of oxygen at birth cause mental retardation?

Lack of oxygen at birth can lead to several conditions like cerebral palsy and paralysis. The baby can also suffer from cognitive problems and developmental delays.

4. Who is more at risk of developing perinatal asphyxia?

Birth asphyxia is common between mothers 18 and 35 years of age. But it may also differ in some cases.

5. Is perinatal asphyxia predictable?

The probability of developing birth asphyxia is very low if there are no risk factors.

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