What Should You Know About Neonatal Asphyxia Resuscitation?

What Should You Know About Neonatal Asphyxia Resuscitation

How Does Asphyxia Resuscitation Save Newborn Babies Suffering From Birth Asphyxia?

Oxygen is quite vital for our survival. It is the gas we breathe and life is impossible without it. Babies breathe faster than an adult person. It scares some parents, but it’s normal for newborn children to breathe fast.

Things get scary when the child does not receive enough oxygen during, before, or after birth. This condition is known as neonatal asphyxia or birth asphyxia. It’s a serious condition and it can have life-threatening complications.

The child will need quick treatment to meet his oxygen needs. The healthcare provider will try a series of treatments to establish normal breathing, heart rate, and activity in a newborn child. It is called neonatal asphyxia resuscitation. This post will provide a comprehensive guide on neonatal resuscitation to improve your knowledge about this condition.  

What Is Neonatal Asphyxia?

Neonatal asphyxia affects a baby when he fails to breathe after birth. This condition is known by many names in the medical field. All the pediatric doctors agree that it’s a serious condition. The newborn child does not receive enough oxygen to survive.

Difficulty in breathing can be quite dangerous for the child’s survival. It can threaten the baby before, after, and during birth. Acid buildup quickly increases when the child doesn’t receive enough oxygen. The child may not survive if immediate treatment is not provided.

Babies fully recover in moderate cases. Lack of oxygen can cause permanent damage to the child’s brain in severe cases. It can also be fatal in the worst-case scenario. Therefore, it’s not a condition to ignore.  

Birth asphyxia rates are much higher in under-developed countries than in developed ones. Only 2 in 1000 newborn babies suffer from this problem in developed nations. They have enough resources and medical facilities to ensure the child survives.

What Are the Causes of Neonatal Asphyxia?

A newborn baby can experience birth asphyxia due to many reasons, which are as follows:

Umbilical cord prolapse

Sometimes the umbilical cord gets out of the cervix before the child. It causes the umbilical cord to prolapse and the child suffers from birth asphyxia. The compression of the umbilical cord can also cause this issue.

Meconium aspiration syndrome

The child may suffer from neonatal asphyxia due to meconium aspiration syndrome. It’s a condition in which the child inhales meconium along with amniotic fluid!

Amniotic fluid embolism

Sometimes, the amniotic fluid can enter a pregnant woman’s bloodstream. It is a rare complication and can cause a variety of allergic reactions. It can also affect the unborn child by attacking his respiratory system.  

Premature birth

Premature babies do not have fully developed lungs in case of premature birth. A child is more likely to suffer from neonatal asphyxia if he/she is born before 37 weeks. It will be quite difficult for him to breathe properly due to an underdeveloped respiratory system.

Uterine rupture

Some researchers have found that uterine rupture can also cause breathing issues in newborn babies. Doctors should be more careful if the mother experiences uterine rupture. It can be fatal for an unborn child.

Other things, such as prolonged labor, infection during labor, and low or high blood pressure can also cause neonatal asphyxia. Quick treatment can reduce its adverse effects on the child to restore good health.

What Is Neonatal Asphyxia Resuscitation?

As you have learned, birth asphyxia can have fatal complications. Most doctors try neonatal asphyxia resuscitation to establish normal breathing in the baby. It is based on the WHO’s principle of ABCDE.

The doctor will first clean the child’s breathing tract to clear all kinds of blockages. Now, the doctor will try to establish breathing in the child. Maintaining proper blood circulation will be the next step. The child will receive the necessary medications after the treatment. Your baby will be in observation for some days so that the doctor can monitor his condition.

When do the doctors try neonatal asphyxia resuscitation?

Well-trained doctors try asphyxia resuscitation when the child’s heart rate is below 60 beats per minute. They use epinephrine for the revival to ensure the baby survives and breathes better. The goal of this treatment is to improve the performance of the cardiovascular system and respiratory system. Most healthcare providers use newly developed medications to improve the child’s condition.

What is the principle of ABCDE?

The ABCDE approach stands for the Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, and exposure. It is a systematic way of immediate screening and curing a critical health issue. The healthcare provider keeps the airway open to establish proper breathing. It offers instant exposure to ventilation and improves blood circulation.

Once all the above-listed steps are taken, the doctor will offer medication to stabilize the patient’s health. Further evaluation will continue until the patient is fit. This approach is quite effective and many newborn babies have survived due to this approach.

How Neonatal Asphyxia Resuscitation Is Carried Out?

The asphyxia resuscitation treatment is carried out when a newborn child is asphyxiated. The process of asphyxia resuscitation is as followed:

  • The healthcare provider will begin the treatment by extracting respiratory mucus.
  • Now, the doctor will establish breathing in the child to improve ventilation.
  • The baby’s blood circulation will be normalized to increase blood flow in the child’s body.
  • The doctor will provide medications to ensure the child’s health is stable.
  • The baby will be kept in observation for several days to evaluate improvements in his health condition.

It is a systematic approach followed by all the top-skilled doctors to restore the good health of the child. This treatment quickly reduces the risks of further complications.

The method

  • Use a perfect size oxygen mask for the child. It should be airtight so that no external air passes into the mask. The goal is to provide more oxygen without pressing the mask too tightly on the child’s face.
  • Keep the ventilation frequency 40-60 times per minute and pressure should be 20-30cmH2O.
  • The child’s chest should swell as he breathes in and positive pressure should be 15-30 seconds. It is to avoid irregular breathing and ensure the child is getting the necessary amount of oxygen.
  • Keep monitoring the baby’s heart rate. If the heart beats 100 times per minute, the baby will need immediate attention. Positive pressure ventilation and tracheal intubation will be required in such a condition.

What Precautions to Take When Dealing with Asphyxia Resuscitation?

A newborn baby can recover from birth asphyxia, but he will still be pretty weak. What can you do to deal with such a health issue? How to ensure the child is safe and won’t experience further health complications? Let’s find out:

Provide oxygen

Healthcare providers generally provide oxygen for 3-6 hours continuously. The oxygen concentration will be around 30-40%. It is the job of nurse or doctors around the child to maintain control of the oxygen flow.

The child should receive slightly moisturized oxygen when he breathes. Once the baby is breathing normally, oxygen flow should be stopped for 30 minutes. It can cause brain damage if the oxygen concentration is not ideal to treat hypoxemia.

Excess oxygen concentration can also cause lung damage. It can lead to oxygen poisoning and the baby’s lungs and eyes can be damaged. Therefore, it is quite important to control oxygen flow to ensure the baby is recovering.

It’s best if a specialist is treating your child

The child should be admitted to the hospital, even if he is recovered from neonatal asphyxia. The healthcare provider will ensure the baby is receiving the right amount of oxygen. There will be doctors to improve the child’s condition if further complications occur.

The doctor will constantly examine your child’s health to ensure he is fine. Take the baby to the home only when the doctor discharges him. It will be then your responsibility as parents to take care of the baby.

Ask the doctor how to monitor the child’s health. Follow all the tips the pediatric doctor shares to keep your child healthy. Do not try any DIY remedy without consulting with the doctor. It can have fatal consequences and you must avoid it as much as possible.

How to Offer First Aid to A Child Suffering From Neonatal Asphyxia?

The doctor should do asphyxia resuscitation immediate as he diagnoses the child with neonatal asphyxia. The following method will be followed to offer the first aid for birth asphyxia resuscitation.

Prevent respiratory acidosis

Carbon dioxide retention and lactic acid accumulation can occur due to birth asphyxia in the child. It leads to metabolic acidosis and respiratory acidosis. The baby’s blood and other fluids can get quite acidic if this condition does not improve.

You have to provide proper ventilation to prevent respiratory acidosis in the child. Baby will discharge all the oxygen produced in his lungs and it won’t affect his body fluids. Doctors usually provide alkaline drugs to cure metabolic acidosis. Such initial treatments effectively reduce the risks of fatal health problems.

Instant chest massage

Use your two fingers to press the bottom side of the sternum gently. Newborn babies are quite small, therefore you cannot press with too much power. Use your fingers or thumbs to massage the baby’s chest. Apply enough force to press only 1.5-2cm about 120 times per minute. The baby will breathe normally after this treatment.


Neonatal asphyxia resuscitation ensures the baby breathes correctly. It helps in a rapid improvement of the child’s health. Not all professional healthcare providers specialize in this treatment. Therefore, you should choose the right hospital for your child’s birth.

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