One of the key ways that medical practitioners can avoid hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) in their patients is by taking all appropriate actions to avoid a baby being born prematurely. Premature babies are very fragile because they are still in the process of developing – this fragility extends to the baby’s brain as well. Preemies are far more prone to having brain bleeds (intracranial hemorrhages) and other blood-pressure-, nutrition-, and perfusion-related issues that can cause HIE. When a medical practitioner closely monitors a pregnancy and takes action when there is a suspicion that a child will be born early, it can help decrease the incidence of HIE. There are several procedures that medical practitioners can do in cases where there are indications that a woman may give birth prematurely, including:
- Using a cervical cerclage to help support the cervix (when there is cervical insufficiency)
- Prolonging pregnancies using progesterone when a mother has a prior history of preterm birth
- Closely monitoring pregnancies to ensure high-risk conditions are not missed
For other strategies for preventing hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, please visit our main prevention page.