• Insufficient blood flow to a baby before birth causes asphyxia, or an insufficient supply of oxygen supply to the baby's brain and body, as well as increasing levels of carbon dioxide. Whether damage occurs and to what degree depends on the duration and severity of the asphyxia.

    Time Frame

    Periods of asphyxia can occur any time during pregnancy, as well as during labor and delivery.


    Associations between periods of asphyxia and resulting injury remain general because of the difficulty in obtaining data for human infants. Short periods of oxygen deprivation may not cause any damage at all, while longer periods may cause reversible damage. Extensive periods can injure one or more organs, including the brain.


    During periods of asphyxia before birth, the movements, breathing and heart rate of the baby may appear abnormal. In the absence of monitoring equipment, asphyxia may go undetected.


    Treatment for asphyxia mainly consists of preventing recurrences. A doctor may monitor the mother and baby before birth to keep blood pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels normal, intervening when necessary.


    After birth, the baby may have seizures, breathing, blood pressure and feeding problems. It may require continuous monitoring, testing, and intravenous medicine and feeding.


    Sick Newborn Health: Asphyxia and Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

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