Perinatal hypoxia develops when oxygen is unable to get into a child’s body immediately before and after birth. This occurs as the baby stops breathing right after it is born. This prevents oxygen from moving into the brain, thus causing brain cells to die off. The potential for the child to develop cerebral palsy or other physical and cognitive impairments is very high.
Perinatal hypoxia may occur if there is a concern with the umbilical cord during the birthing process. This includes the cord being strung around the child’s body or even a prolapse. Placental abruption, a condition where the placenta is separated from the child, may also be a factor.
Many perinatal hypoxia symptoms will become visible within 48 hours after the child’s birth. They may worsen if they are not treated with the appropriate amount of care and access to oxygen. A medical care center must identify cases where a child is struggling to breathe after birth or else the child will be at risk of extreme harm that could result in long-term damage.
The lack of oxygen within the brain upon birth can cause an extreme amount of stress on the organ. In particular, nerve cells may not develop properly, thus making them more vulnerable to disruptions in their normal activities. Such issues can cause seizures to develop. These seizures may especially occur at any time of the day and can cause the brain to stop functioning properly. Physical movements can also be inhibited due to the stress and pain caused by the seizures.
A child’s memory can become substantially disrupted after suffering from perinatal hypoxia. Connections within the brain will become harder to establish due to the brain cells becoming weak. Some of the more common perinatal hypoxia symptoms include memory gaps, confusion and consistent episodes where the child is forgetful. Hallucinations may also develop as a child may start to see things that are not really there.
The child’s lungs are at their most vulnerable upon birth as they are directly influenced by the air that they breathe. Perinatal hypoxia symptoms in children include lung infections that can cause irregularities in breathing. Such problems can inhibit the flow of oxygen into the body and eventually kill off necessary brain cells. The damage will become worse and more threatening if the body does not get enough oxygen over an extended period.
In some cases, this symptom will develop due to the mother’s exposure to harmful chemicals and pollutants in the air. This is especially the case if the mother smokes during a pregnancy. However, the environment within the birthing area and in any care wards that the child is placed in may also influence the development of perinatal hypoxia, as the compounds in the air may be harder for a child to breathe in.
Low Birth Weight
One of the key perinatal hypoxia symptoms comes from the child’s body having lost access to oxygen at an early period during its gestation. This reduction in oxygen can make it harder for the child to develop within the womb. As a result, fetal growth will become substantially inhibited, thus resulting in a low birth weight.
Children who are born with low birth weights are more likely to develop various lifelong physical and mental disorders. Such problems include depression, anxiety, diabetes and cardiovascular issues.
Parents are expected to receive consistent supervision and support during a pregnancy and the delivery process. The threat of perinatal hypoxia can be prevented by identifying how well a child is developing and by using extreme caution during the actual birthing process.
- “The Lifelong Effects of Perinatal Hypoxia.” The Janov Primal Center. 2008. Web. 30 July 2015. http://www.primaltherapy.com/lifelong-effects-perinatal-hypoxia.php