At Davis Levin Livingston, many of our infant clients who are diagnosed with “Cerebral Palsy,” require that we examine whether asphyxia at birth is the source of the injury. Recent studies reveal that the risk of cerebral palsy due to birth asphyxia is increased during difficult deliveries and adverse events during labor. Risk factors for difficult delivery include above average baby weight, breech presentation (feet first) or the inability of the baby’s shoulders to pass through the birth canal can all present difficulties during child birth. Other known causes of birth asphyxia include uterine rupture, premature separation of the placenta, umbilical cord strangulation, and slow fetal heart rate. When such difficulties present, delivery must generally be accomplished in under 10 minutes to avoid brain damage. During this critical period, even minor medical errors or obstetric accidents can have a devastating effect.
Many cases of birth injury can be prevented with prompt medical attention and by using delivery procedures like Cesarean section when possible.