What is hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy?
Hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy is a condition in which there is a lack of oxygen and/or blood flow getting to a baby’s brain from the placenta during birth. It mainly affects the brain, but it can also affect the lungs, liver, heart, bowel and kidneys.
What causes hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy?
The exact cause of hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy is unknown. It could be caused by complications during birth such as:
- Placental disruption which involves the placenta coming away from the uterus walls too soon.
- Uterine rupture which is tearing of the uterus.
- Prolonged labour which is an usually long labour.
- Shoulder dystocia which involves a baby’s shoulders getting stuck behind the pubic bone.
What are the symptoms of hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy?
The symptoms of hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy may include:
- Being hyper-alert
- Being overly sleepy
- Being floppy or stiff
- Unusual movements
- Apnoea which involves pauses in breathing
- A decrease in awareness or responsiveness.