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Understanding Asphyxia

What is Asphyxia?

Asphyxia (or asphyxiation) is a severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body. Birth asphyxia happens before, during or after birth and occurs when the baby’s brain or other organs get inadequate, or no oxygen. Not many people are aware that birth asphyxia can cause brain injuries that lead to lifelong complications such as cerebral palsy

A major research project carried out in the 1980’s showed that asphyxia was the cause of cerebral palsy in around 5-10% of cases.

What causes Asphyxia?

Asphyxia can sometimes occur during a difficult or complicated birth. It occurs when a baby doesn’t receive enough oxygen before, during or just after being born. Causes of this could include, but are not limited to:

  • Prolonged/traumatic delivery
  • Baby’s airway gets blocked/is not properly formed
  • Serious infection in mother or baby
  • High/low blood pressure in mother
  • Too little oxygen in mothers blood prior to birth
  • The baby has anaemia (where their blood can’t carry enough oxygen to meet the needs of their body)
  • Neglect, medical negligence, birth injury, or mistake by doctors
  • Poor placenta function
  • Excessive bleeding while pregnant/during delivery

Symptoms of Asphyxia

Common symptoms of asphyxia

  • Pale/bluish skin tone
  • Low heart rate
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Weak reflexes
  • Baby experiences seizures
  • Gasping or weak breathing
  • Increased level of acid in blood

In a number of cases, asphyxia could have been prevented by medical professionals. If your child has cerebral palsy as a result of asphyxia it is useful to find out how the lack of oxygen occurred.

If you suspect that your child’s cerebral palsy was due to birth asphyxia and the mistakes of medical professionals, you may be eligible for compensation and should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

You can call Express Solicitors on 0161 904 4660 to obtain advice from a specialist solicitor who will discuss the case with you and provide you with confidential advice on the options available to you.


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