Oxygen deprivation, or hypoxia, at birth is a reduced supply of oxygen to the baby’s brain which can cause some degree of brain damage. The consequences vary depending on how much the oxygen supply was reduced and for how long. It can result in the baby experiencing severe learning and physical disabilities and can mean they need constant care throughout their lives. There are various factors that can cause or contribute to oxygen deprivation during pregnancy, during the delivery, or in the postnatal period. During pregnancy:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Maternal Diabetes where Vascular Disease is also present
  • Foetal infections
  • Cardiac Disease
  • Problems with blood flow to the placenta

  Problems during labour:

  • Blockage of the placenta
  • The placenta becoming twisted or trapped during birth
  • Heavy bleeding from the placenta
  • Very low blood pressure in the mother
  • The baby being in an abnormal position during birth

  Post-natal:

  • Severe low blood pressure in the baby
  • Brain or skull trauma

  Some of these problems are beyond the control of medical staff.  However, sometimes, risk factors can and should be picked up by staff during routine tests such as scans and examinations. In cases where deprivation of oxygen at birth could have been prevented, you may be able to claim compensation for medical negligence.


What are the Consequences of Oxygen Deprivation at Birth?

Oxygen deprivation at birth can result in long term learning difficulties and physical disabilities. Learning difficulties, reduced short term memory and reduced mobility and motor control can all be symptoms of oxygen deprivation. Lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain during labour has also been linked to cerebral palsy, autism and severe and profound learning difficulties. It can mean that the baby needs specialist care throughout its lifetime.  Depending on how much brain damage occurred and which parts of the brain were affected.

Can Oxygen Deprivation at Birth be Prevented?

It isn’t always possible for oxygen deprivation at birth to be prevented.  There are many circumstances and complications that can arise during pregnancy and labour which are difficult or impossible to foresee. However, it is important for doctors, midwives, gynaecologists and obstetricians to conduct routine tests throughout your pregnancy to pick up on any risk factors which might make oxygen deprivation more likely to occur.  They also need to observe all necessary procedures during labour to ensure a safe delivery. If your baby suffered oxygen deprivation at birth, it may be difficult for you to be sure whether the situation could have been prevented or not. Unless you are a medical professional, you may not know which tests, precautions and procedures are standard and should be carried out as a matter of course and so you may not know whether there was any clinical negligence. It is advisable to seek legal advice from an experienced firm who will be able to put you in touch with a medical expert.

How to Make a Claim

If your baby suffered from oxygen deprivation at birth and you believe there is a chance it may have been the result of medical negligence, it’s advisable to speak to a solicitor as soon as possible.  They will be able to advise you on the validity of making a claim. To learn more about how Cute Injury can help you, get in touch with us today.

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