Birth asphyxia | Action Medical Research

Birth asphyxia

Every year, it’s estimated that more than 1,200 babies are starved of oxygen with reduced blood supply during birth, causing them a catastrophic brain injury as a result. This is known as birth asphyxia.

In severe cases, up to 50% of babies with birth asphyxia will die, and as many as 80% of those babies that survive will go onto develop long term complications, like cerebral palsy.

Cooling therapy offers babies the first real treatment to combat the cascade of brain damage that occurs in the hours and days after experiencing birth asphyxia.  It was the product of a 20-year programme of research to which our supporters contributed significantly. 

But there’s still more to do, and your support can help fund projects like Professor Thoresen’s, which looked at how to improve this groundbreaking treatment.

We’ve put together an infographic on the topic – why not take a look and share it with your friends?

New research can save lives

1,000,000 deaths worldwide every year.

1,200+ babies suffer every year in the UK.

80% of surviving babies with severe birth asphyxia will develop serious long-term complications.

Cooling therapy: breakthrough

Six hours - start treatment within six hours of birth.

3-5 degrees celcius - have a specially made cap, blanket or mattress to cool them by.

Three days - spend three days at this lower temperature.

Cooling therapy saves lives and reduced disability in babies with birth asphyxia.

Sophie's story

When Sophie was born, she was blue and totally unresponsive. Complications during Sophie’s birth meant she was starved of oxygen and was born blue and totally unresponsive. But doctors used the revolutionary cooling therapy to help keep her alive and minimise any brain damage; and today Sophie is a happy, healthy toddler.

Read Sophie's story

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