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Hypoxia is a condition caused by oxygen deprivation at the tissue level. There are two types of hypoxia:

  • General, affecting the whole body
  • Localized, affecting a single part or region of the body

When hypoxia occurs during labor or delivery and nothing is done to address the condition, birth injury may be unavoidable.

Risks Posed by Hypoxia During Labor and Delivery

Oxygen deprivation at the tissue level places the baby at heightened risk for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a known cause of cerebral palsy. It also increases risks for other cognitive and physical disabilities that may have lasting impacts.

Hypoxia during labor and delivery is not uncommon, but most cases are mild and can be handled through immediate medical treatment such as incubation, cool and heat therapy, fluid management, and stabilizing oxygen flow.

When the condition is not addressed immediately, the cognitive and physical consequences faced by the child can be profound. So too can the economic consequences a lifelong developmental disorder can have on an entire family.


Common causes of neonatal hypoxia include:

  • Umbilical cord injury
  • Umbilical cord prolapse
  • Placental abruption
  • Placental insufficiency
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Infection
  • Cardiovascular collapse

Hypoxia may also occur as a result of shoulder dystocia.

When caught early on, steps can be taken to protect the baby and prevent serious injury from hypoxia. This makes proper monitoring of the mother and infant all the more important.

Hypoxia does more damage the longer it remains undetected. Swift response to oxygen deprivation is the only way to prevent irreversible damage.


If your child has been diagnosed with a cognitive or developmental disorder and you suspect oxygen deprivation during delivery played a role, you may be entitled to take legal action and seek compensation for all related damages.

There is no cure for permanent brain damage. Medical treatment, special care, and similar considerations will produce a lifetime of expenses. Without proper compensation, you may be forced to dip into personal finances to cover these.

The lifetime costs of assisting children born with a cognitive or developmental disorder can push even well-prepared families into a financial crisis. When your child’s condition is the result of someone else’s negligence, your family should not be forced to bear this burden. Talk to an experienced birth injury lawyer who can help you understand your rights and your options, and who can help you determine the best way to move forward with your claim.


Call Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King at 404-760-7400 to schedule a complimentary case review. We have two locations in Atlanta. We serve all the surrounding areas of Georgia.