Birth asphyxia

    • Brief

    • When your baby does not get enough oxygen during or right after birth they have birth asphyxia. This condition can be life-threatening. The harm to your baby depends on how long your baby does not get enough oxygen and how quickly they receive treatment.

    • What are the symptoms?

    • When your baby has birth asphyxia they may:

      • Not cry at all, have a weak cry or take a long time to cry after they are born.
      • Have feeble and slow breathing or no breathing at all.
      • Have a bluish or or very light skin colour.
      • Start to shake violently (convulse).
      • Pass their first stool while still inside the womb.
    • What are the causes?

      • Too little oxygen in the mother's blood during pregnancy or birth.
      • The placenta separates from the womb too soon depriving the baby of oxygen.
      • Long and difficult deliveries may also cause distress to your baby.
      • When the umbilical cord is wrapped around your baby's neck they may be suffocated during delivery.
      • When the delivery takes too long the baby may receive too little oxygen.
    • What are the things that put you at risk?

      • Not attending antenatal care regularly at a health centre or hospital where your baby's health and development is monitored.
      • Not delivering your baby in a hospital. Your baby has a higher risk of injury is if you don't deliver in a hospital.
      • Premature delivery. If you deliver your baby before nine months, their lungs are not mature limiting the amount of oxygen that they can absorb.
      • Using herbal concoctions, smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy can increase your baby's risk of birth asphyxia.
    • When to visit a doctor?

    • When your baby shows any of the symptom described above, your should take them to a hospital immediately. Do not try to treat birth asphyxia at home.

    • How to prevent?

    • Some of the steps you can take to prevent your baby from having birth asphyxia are to:

      • Register for and regularly attend antenatal care in a health centre or hospital.
      • Deliver your baby in a hospital.
      • Report any pain or bleeding to your healthcare provider.
      • Do not drink herbal concoctions, alcohol or smoke during pregnancy.
    • How to manage and treat?

    • There is no self-care for birth asphyxia. Your baby must be treated in a hospital where they can:

      • Place you on oxygen and pass fluids through your veins.
      • Perform an emergency cesarean section if your baby is still in your womb.
      • Place your baby on oxygen to help them breathe.
      • Put your baby in an incubator to keep them at the right temperature.
      • Give your baby fluids through their veins for nutrition and strength.
      • Treat your baby for fever or convulsions.
    • Kulawa cares

    • Birth asphyxia is dangerous to your baby, but it can be treated in a hospital.  Your baby can recover from birth asphyxia with prompt and appropriate treatment. Do not try to treat your baby at home.