An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Preventing Oxygen Deprivation in a Baby
It is very important to remember that hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a diagnosis stemming from oxygen deprivation to the fetus. Preventing the oxygen deprivation that causes the HIE is key. To prevent oxygen deprivation, pregnancies must be properly monitored and cared for throughout gestation, labor, delivery and the neonatal period.
In many cases, the underlying risk factors and causes can be mitigated and controlled. Indeed, one of the common threads that tie together many preventable cases of HIE is failure on the part of medical professionals in carrying out the standards of care. These can include a failure to deliver a baby in time, a failure in recognizing that the baby’s heart rate is abnormal on the fetal monitoring strips, or a failure to resuscitate or intubate the baby in time. Sometimes this can also be due to a failure of basic communication between the various care providers – results of various tests or procedures can get lost, especially during shift changes or between departments. Because the prevention of oxygen deprivation is so heavily dependent on medical care providers, one of the best ways parents can try to ensure their baby’s safety is choosing a good medical care provider and getting accurate information regarding birth and delivery procedures, including what medical staff do in case of complications or emergencies.