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5 Things About Neonatal Asphyxia Every Mummy Should Know


Neonatal Asphyxia is also known as Perinatal Asphyxia or Birth Asphyxia. It’s a condition wherein the baby is subject to physical hurt as a result of which the brain is deprived of oxygen. After 5-10 minutes of not getting oxygen, the brain is severely impaired.


1. What are the causes of Asphyxiation?


i. If the baby’s airway is blocked.

ii. Anaemia in babies also leads to their blood cells not carrying enough oxygen.

iii. If the time taken to deliver the baby is prolonged

iv. If the mother doesn’t have access to enough oxygen during or even before the birth.

v. If the mother’s BP is too high or low during delivery.


2. What are the symptoms of Neonatal Asphyxia?


i. Baby’s breathing is very weak.

ii. If the skin color of the baby is pale or bluish.

iii. If baby’s heart rate is low.

iv. If baby’s reflexes are weak.

v. If the baby suffers from seizures.

vi. If there’s too much acid in the baby’s blood.


3. How is Neonatal Asphyxia diagnosed?


As soon as your baby is born, the condition is checked and a rating is given between 0-10. This rating is called the Apgar score. The Apgar score rates the skin color, heart rate, muscle tone, reflexes, and breathing effort. If your baby’s score is between 0-3 then it’s a sign of Birth Asphyxia.


4.What Are the Risk Factors?


The risk of neonatal asphyxia increases significantly if the following are at play:

i. When there are multiple simultaneous births occurring.

ii. If the child weighs very less at birth.

iii. If the woman is older than the ideal age of conception.


5.What are the ways to treat Asphyxia?


i. The baby is under ventilation or breathing assistance. This process send small and rapid puffs of air into your baby’s lungs.

ii. Nitric oxide is given to the baby through a breathing tube into the windpipe. This helps the lungs dilate and carry oxygenated blood into the body.

iii. Research suggests that cooling the baby’s internal body temperature to 33.5 degree C for up to 72 hours can help protect the baby’s brain from damage. This is called Hypothermia.

iv. When the baby’s heart or lungs do not function properly the best treatment to go for is ECMO — Extra Corporeal Membrane oxygenation. In this process, the blood that carries less oxygen is removed, excess carbon dioxide is taken off from that blood, more oxygen is added to that blood, and the oxygen rich blood is injected back in to the baby’s body.

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