What are the Complications of Birth Asphyxia?

By  //  September 29, 2020

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This


Having a baby can be one of the most joyous moments of your life.

After waiting for months to finally meet your child, the last thing you want to worry about is something going wrong during the delivery.

Thankfully, the advancements in medical science have reduced the complications and risks associated with the birthing process, but there are still some things to have in the back of your mind, including the risk of birth asphyxia.

What Is Birth Asphyxia?

Birth asphyxia remains a crucial part of the conversation about birth safety. This happens when your child is denied oxygen for an extended period of time. It can occur at any point during the birthing process, although it happens more often during extended labor or if the baby gets stuck in the birth canal.

If your baby doesn’t get the oxygen it needs, this can lead to a host of issues and complications. In most cases, birth asphyxia occurs due to medical negligence. This might include the doctor or nurse not monitoring you or the baby properly or making an error in judgement during the labor process.

Complications of Birth Asphyxia

When it comes to birth asphyxia, there are a range of issues that can arise. How severe the issue is will depend on how long your baby had to go without oxygen. Some of the common complications that arise from birth asphyxia include the following:

Brain Damage

One of the most common side-effects of birth asphyxia is lack of oxygen to the brain, which can result in brain damage. Again, the extent of the damage will depend on how long your child went without getting oxygen into their system.

Mild symptoms could include developmental delays to their speech, motor, mental and physical development. They may also experience learning disabilities.

On the more extreme end of the scale, birth asphyxia could also lead to mental retardation. Even if your baby was healthy up to this point, a lack of oxygen during the birthing process can have long-lasting and detrimental impacts on their quality of life.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy impacts your child’s body and their ability to control their muscles, as well as their muscle tone, balance, posture, and coordination. In some cases, cerebral palsy and lack of oxygen at birth impacts their fine motor skills, oral motor functions, and gross motor skills.


If your baby’s head goes through any type of trauma, this can lead to seizures. If your baby gets stuck in the birth canal or is deprived of oxygen, there is an increased risk that they will have a seizure — even as a newborn. Depending on the extent of the damage, a seizure disorder can stay with them for the rest of their lives.


The denial of oxygen during the birthing process could lead to partial or full paralysis of your child. If they get stuck during the birth process, the doctor may use certain instruments, including forceps, to get them out. These can also injure your child and lead to paralysis.

Put a Plan in Place

Giving birth is safer now than it has been in the past, but issues can and do arise. To protect yourself and your child, it’s in your best interest to talk to your doctor about how they will handle any emergency that might arise.

No one wants to think about the worst happening, but knowing that it could and having a plan in place may be just what you need for peace of mind and to ensure you and your baby’s safety.