During pregnancy, a fetus receives oxygen from the mother through the umbilical cord and the placenta.  If that oxygen flow to the fetus is disrupted, it can cause oxygen deprivation (hypoxia), and lead to fetal distress.  That oxygen deprivation can lead to permanent brain damage,hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy (CP), developmental delays, seizures or infant death.

Some of the reasons for a lack of oxygen reaching a fetus during labor include prolonged labor, umbilical cord compression, overuse of the drug Pitocin, placental abruption, infection, shoulder dystocia, or abnormal fetal position.  If the fetal heart rate pattern on the bedside fetal heart rate monitor is too fast, too slow, or demonstrates certain types of patterns, it can mean that the baby is in distress and not receiving enough oxygen.  If fetal distress is not recognized and treated, it can lead to a lack of oxygen to a baby’s brain and vital organs, causing a significant brain injury, multi-system organ failure, or CP.

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and you think it may be due to a lack of oxygen during labor, you may want to speak with an experienced birth injury lawyer or cerebral palsy law firm for more information.