What is Asphyxia neonatorum, Definition, Reason, Symptom

What is Asphyxia Neonatorum, Definition, Reason, Symptom, Diagnosis, Treatment


Asphyxia Neonatorum is a condition in which the baby does not get enough oxygen during labor until delivery is complete. This condition is considered serious because it can lead to death.

This condition can also cause developmental disorders in the baby until later adulthood. Neonatal asphyxia is also known as perinatal asphyxia.


There are many causes of asphyxia neonatorum, including:

  • Hyaline membrane disease

Hyaline membrane disease is a lung disease in newborns that occurs because the baby’s lungs are immature. While still in the womb, the baby’s lungs are in a state of deflation and cannot receive oxygen.

Then at 34-35 weeks of gestation, normally the lungs will experience maturation so that the lungs expand and can receive oxygen.

If the baby is born before 34-35 weeks of gestation, there is a possibility that the lungs are not mature enough and the baby is likely to be born with hyaline membrane disease.

  • Meconium aspiration syndrome

Meconium aspiration syndrome is shortness of breath in infants that occurs as a result of newborn faeces (called meconium) being inhaled into the respiratory tract, up to the lungs. Under normal circumstances, meconium should only be passed by the baby within 24 hours after birth.

In meconium aspiration syndrome, meconium is expelled while the baby is still in the mother’s womb.

This condition usually occurs when the baby has fetal distress, which is a pregnancy condition that causes the health of the fetus to be disturbed, for example due to entanglement of the umbilical cord or infection in the uterus.

  • Transient tachypnea of ​​Newborn (TTN)

Transient tachypnea of ​​newborn (TTN) is shortness of breath that occurs in newborns because their lungs are still filled with amniotic fluid (amniotic fluid). Normally, when the baby is still in the womb, his lungs are submerged in amniotic fluid.

During a normal delivery process, because it passes through a narrow birth canal, the baby’s lungs will be “squeezed” so that the amniotic fluid comes out of the lungs. This extortion process does not occur in babies born by cesarean delivery, so the TTN condition arises.

  • Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs of newborns so that the lungs cannot take in oxygen and are hampered in removing carbon dioxide. Pneumonia in newborns usually occurs due to infection in the uterus while the baby is still in the womb.

In addition, there are other causes of asphyxia neonatorum, namely:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Anemia
  • Labor too long
  • Maternal blood pressure during labor is too high or too low


Some of the signs and symptoms of Asphyxia neonatorum shown by babies are as follows:

  • Baby’s skin looks pale or bluish
  • Blue lips
  • The muscles in the chest appear to contract to help with breathing
  • Heart rate too fast or too slow
  • Baby looks limp
  • Baby sounds whimpering

Asphyxia neonatorum is a serious condition and requires immediate treatment. When treated too late, the brain will be deprived of oxygen (hypoxia). This can cause permanent damage to the brain.


The presence or absence of asphyxia neonatorum can be immediately identified by the doctor shortly after the baby is born by calculating the APGAR score.

This is a doctor’s check for Appearance (whether the baby looks blue or not), Pulse (assess the baby’s heart rate), Grimace (assess the baby’s response when given a stimulus), Activity (sees the baby’s muscle contractions), and Respiration (assesses the baby’s breath sounds, sounds audible). or not).

Each component is given a score of 0, 1, or 2. The better the condition of the baby, the higher the APGAR score. An infant is considered to have neonatal asphyxia if the APGAR score is below 7.

In addition to the APGAR score examination, generally a chest X-ray will also be done to help find out in more detail the cause of asphyxia.


Treatment for asphyxia neonatorum varies, depending on the cause. However, in general, infants with asphyxia neonatorum will receive oxygen supplementation at birth and need to undergo intensive care in the hospital.

If the asphyxia neonatorum is caused by a hyaline membrane disorder, the baby will generally be fitted with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP ).

This is a device to help the baby breathe by putting positive pressure into the lungs so that the lungs expand. In addition, surfactants (substances to expand the lungs) can also be given.

If the asphyxia is caused by meconium aspiration syndrome, then immediately after the baby is born, the doctor will suck the meconium along the respiratory tract using suction.

In addition, antibiotics are generally given to prevent and treat lung infections. If there is a lot of meconium entering the airways, it is generally necessary to install a ventilator and stay in the ICU.

Asphyxia caused by transient tachypnea of ​​newborns generally goes away on its own within three days after birth. As long as shortness of breath still occurs, the baby is usually given enough oxygen.

If asphyxia neonatorum occurs due to pneumonia, then treatment with antibiotics must be given. To be effective, antibiotics will be given by injection or infused into the baby’s veins.


Not all cases of asphyxia neonatorum can be prevented. Pregnant women are advised to have regular check-ups with a gynecologist.

Regular check-ups can help ensure that the pregnancy and the health of the fetus are in good condition. Thus the risk of the baby experiencing asphyxia neonatorum can also decrease.

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