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Lack of oxygen a top cause of birth injuries in premature babies

It is not always possible to control when a baby is born. According to the March of Dimes, nearly 10% of babies are born prematurely in North Carolina--a rate that is higher than many states'. And with how common premature babies are, it might make sense that doctors and hospitals nationwide understand how to keep both mother and child safe.

However, a high percentage of premature babies sustain severe birth injuries. And a new report connects long-term brain injuries to a significant lack of oxygen during and after birth.

Preterm babies are at high risk for birth injuries

There is already a clear link between preterm babies and birth injuries. Premature babies often suffer injuries in the womb or complications during birth.

Then they face significant developmental challenges after birth. If they are born too early, their organs do not often develop correctly. This leads to various health issues, including:

  • Hearing or vision loss
  • Problems breathing
  • Issues digesting
  • Cognitive delays

Babies born preterm also face a higher risk of Cerebral palsy.

Oxygen deprivation causing brain injuries in preterm babies

The U.S. News & World Report states that a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine connects many brain injuries in premature babies to a severe lack of oxygen. Therefore, the brain does not develop properly.

The number of these brain injuries is increasing, but the Stanford researchers believe they have found a way to prevent them.

Is the lack of oxygen caused by medical negligence?

The answer to that question is unclear. The lack of organ development could be the cause. And premature babies often have underdeveloped lungs that affect the oxygen levels to the brain. 

Regardless of the cause, doctors still have a responsibility to prevent birth injuries. All doctors should always:

  • Monitor the fetus for any hazards or abnormalities
  • Prescribe safe treatments for both baby and mother
  • Ensure they provide the highest level of care possible

Avoiding premature births is possible

Medical professionals also have the ability to prevent premature births. They have strategies to monitor pregnant mothers and even take measures to prolong pregnancy. This can reduce the risk of injury to both mother and baby.

And preventing a premature birth could help prevent any of the developmental challenges or injuries that come along with it.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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