Infant asphyxia is the deprivation of oxygen to the brain of an infant. Also known as perinatal asphyxia, it causes severe damage to the brain during childbirth. The infant is at risk of becoming brain damaged to the point of mental retardation. Physically, the child may suffer from involuntary spasticity. Infant asphyxia symptoms include brain damage and other health ailments.
Infant asphyxia is caused when the flow of blood is constricted to the brain. The affected infant is not breathing correctly or receiving proper blood circulation throughout the body. In extreme cases, death or unconsciousness is likely to occur.
The common causes of infant asphyxia are:
- The early separation of the placenta
- Low amounts of oxygen in maternal blood
Doctors treat the problem by opening up the baby’s airways and inserting oxygen or performing chest compressions.
Of all infant asphyxia symptoms, brain damage is the most apparent and serious sign of the condition. The baby is unresponsive and has fallen into unconsciousness. He or she needs assistance to breathe or sit upright. It takes only a few minutes for this lack of oxygen to cause severe brain damage and other infant asphyxia symptoms.
Many people recover from receiving brain damage, but they have various mental problems. Some of them experience seizures or delusions that come randomly. Other people are left in a persistent vegetative state or coma.
If the brain damage is severe enough, irreversible mental retardation occurs. The infant does not function normally and develops one or more learning disabilities. Difficulty in learning is one of many severe infant asphyxia symptoms.
He or she may never graduate above the mental state of a two or four-year-old. Children in this state need to attend special education classes and receive assisted living for the rest of their lives.
Cerebral palsy is one known type of infant asphyxia. Before birth, the fetus receives oxygenated blood through the placenta. If the flow of blood gets cut off too suddenly in the placenta or umbilical cord, asphyxia is known to occur. Although asphyxia is not a well-known cause of cerebral palsy, it is still a known cause.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental condition that affects children and adults. The disorder can be inherited or caused by a brain injury during birth. It is one of the lesser known infant asphyxia symptoms. The signs of ADHD do not appear until the child appears in the classroom. Common symptoms include restlessness, aggressiveness, lack of concentration, poor grades and insomnia.
People with ADHD have severe behavioral problems. Many of them need to be placed in special education classes. They are taught behavior modification techniques that help them concentrate and learn better. They are taught to avoid foods and activities that overstimulate their brain. The children are rewarded for being quiet and showing signs of total concentration.
Doctors make the diagnosis of ADHD by observing the daily activities of children. They look at the patterns of feeding, sleeping and socializing. They monitor how restless the child gets when placed in certain situations. In the classroom and other places, ADHD children cannot concentrate or stay still for more than a few minutes. Their hormones and brain functions are different and not the same as in other children.
Infant asphyxia is a severe condition that causes severe cell damage within minutes. The lack of oxygenated blood flow to the brain is the primary cause. Brain damage and mental retardation are the two main infant asphyxia symptoms. Additional symptoms include cerebral palsy, ADHD and learning disabilities. In modern countries, doctors know how to treat birth asphyxia and reduce its effects on infants. They use special machines to monitor children and keep their bodies under control. Nowadays, infants have better chances at surviving asphyxia than they had decades ago.
- “About Attention Deficit Disorder.” eHow. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2015. http://www.ehow.com/about_4623917_attention-deficit-disorder.html
- “Brain damage from perinatal asphyxia: correlation of MR findings with gestational age — Barkovich and Truwit 11 (6): 1087 — American Journal of Neuroradiology”. www.ajnr.org
- “What Is Birth Asphyxia?.” Seattle Children’s Hospital. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2015. http://www.seattlechildrens.org/medical-conditions/airway/birth-asphyxia/