Perinatal Asphyxia in Newborn : All you Need to Know

by Dr. Parimala V Thirumalesh

Perinatal asphyxia is a condition where the newborn infant suffers from a deprivation of oxygen that lasts long enough during the birth process to cause physical harm and mainly affects the brain. 

This condition also causes an inability of the infant to establish and sustain adequate respiration.

It is considered a serious condition which has a significant impact on morbidity and mortality.It is an emergency condition and requires adequate and quick resuscitation measures.

 What causes Perinatal Asphyxia?

Causes of Perinatal Asphyxia are grouped into antepartum causes(before birth) and intra partum causes (during birth).

Antepartum causes

  • Hypoventilation causing inadequate oxygenation in the mother 
  • Hypotension in the mother
  • Premature separation of placenta
  • Placental insufficiency

Intra partum causes

  • The uterus being unable to relax due to low levels of oxytocin
  • Prolonged delivery
  • The umbilical cord getting knotted around the infant’s neck

Perinatal Asphyxia Risk factors

There are several risk factors associated with Perinatal Asphyxia including:-

  • Elderly or young mothers
  • Prolonged rupture of membranes
  • Meconium-stained fluid
  • Multiple births
  • Lack of antenatal care
  • Low birth weight infants
  • Malpresentation
  • Augmentation of labour with oxytocin
  • Antepartum hemorrhage
  • Severe eclampsia and preeclampsia
  • Antepartum and intrapartum anemi

Type of Asphyxia Causes

The causes of Perinatal Asphyxia depend on the extent of the disease. This is categorized as Mild asphyxia and Severe Asphyxia.

Mild asphyxia may cause:

  • Poor muscle tone
  • Irritability
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Feeding difficulties, including poor suck

Severe asphyxia may cause:

  • Seizures
  • Poor arousal
  • Blue-colored skin or lips
  • Difficulty breathing

How to treat Perinatal Asphyxia?

Life-sustaining Treatment

This treatment is followed in case the brain function reduces but there is no major damage done yet. Mechanical ventilation or support breathing with oxygen therapy are the treatment options used here & need to take under the best paediatrician in Bangalore. The treatments are stopped as the baby recovers.


The baby’s recovery may need medication to support the way the heart functions. Often along with medication & anti-epileptic drugs. 

Lowering Body Temperature

During the time of birth and within a few hours, the baby may be wrapped in cooling blankets. This lowers body temperature and reduces the risk of tissue injury to reduce the risk of long-term problems.

For any queries, consultation or treatment, visit the best paediatrics & neonatology hospital in Bangalore

One Aster

Personalized Medical Assistant for all your healthcare needs.
Book instant appointment, pay securely, eConsult with our doctors and save all your health records at one place are some of the benefits of OneAster App. It is everything you need, to manage your family Health.


Scan QR Code To Download

* Registration available only for valid Indian mobile number