Birth asphyxia - Sophie's story | Action Medical Research

Sophie's story

Birth asphyxia

Natasha wasn’t able to hold her daughter until she was five days old, so cuddles are even more precious now. Baby Sophie was born blue and totally unresponsive due to complications which led to her being starved of oxygen. Doctors used a revolutionary therapy to reduce the risk of brain damage – her whole body was cooled down.

Natasha said: “Sophie was cooled for 72 hours which doesn’t sound like a long time but watching your poorly baby for that time, who is totally unresponsive, and being unable to cuddle her, makes it feel like forever.”

The cooling treatment takes advantage of a therapeutic 'window' that occurs after a newborn suffers oxygen shortage. By cooling the body to reduce brain temperature, doctors can alter the chemical processes that lead to brain damage. The baby is cooled then gradually warmed again.

Action Medical Research has invested around £1 million during the last 20 years into key projects that have helped to develop cooling as a breakthrough therapy for babies. However, there is still much progress to be made and that is why the charity is continuing to fund the next stages of research to build on this pioneering therapy.

You can read more about Sophie in Research Review and watch a video news clip from ITV Meridian featuring Sophie and her mum Natasha. You may also like to read about current research funded by Action into cooling therapy.

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