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Asphyxia Neonatorum: When An Infant Does Not Get Enough Oxygen

Sept. 10, 2019

During labor and delivery, your doctor should know what risk factors and symptoms may indicate that your baby could be suffering from a lack of oxygen. In Michigan, we at Ratton Law Group PC understand that many birth injuries are preventable, and every health care provider involved in labor and delivery has a duty to prevent them.

According to, here are some symptoms of asphyxia neonatorum that should alert your doctor that there is a problem:

  • The baby’s heart rate is too high or too low

  • The baby’s skin is blue or pale

  • The baby is having trouble breathing

  • The baby has weak muscle tone

Another sign that may indicate that your baby is not getting enough oxygen is a low Apgar score. The scoring system assigns scores of zero, one or two regarding the baby’s breathing, pulse, muscle tone, response to stimulus and appearance. This score should be given during the first five minutes after the baby’s birth, and if it is three or below for five minutes or more, then the doctor may suspect asphyxia neonatorum.

If you do not get enough oxygen while you are in labor or during the delivery, your blood pressure is too low or high, the cord is wrapped around your baby or if the delivery goes on for too long, asphyxia neonatorum is a possibility.

Risk factors before labor and delivery may also indicate that your doctor should be prepared to treat oxygen deprivation during the birth. For example, if your doctor diagnoses you with preeclampsia or diabetes mellitus, he or she should know to watch for many possible complications. More information about oxygen deprivation is available on our webpage.