Hypoxic-ischaemia is a lack of oxygen or blood flow getting to your baby from the placenta during the birthing process. Sometimes this is also referred to as asphyxia or birth asphyxia.

HIE can affect all of the baby’s organs: the lungs, liver, heart, kidneys, and particularly the brain.

  • Symptoms can include:
  • being hyper-alert
  • irritable
  • eye rolling
  • or have abnormal movements (fits)
  • reduced level of awareness.

Together these symptoms are known as hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy.

This injury may be mild, moderate or severe and some babies may not survive.

Of the many babies who do survive, some may go on to develop disabilities, which again may be mild, moderate or severe. Some babies will recover without any lasting effects (particularly those who had a mild brain injury).

Support organisations and charities

Cerebral Palsy Cymru is a national centre of excellence and charity for families in Wales with children who have cerebral palsy. Our specialist team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists work together to offer transdisciplinary skills, so each child, benefits from their combined expertise. Our family support service offers a listening ear, advice and support. We share our knowledge and skills through collaborative working, course, national and international conferences.

Our primary focus is our early intervention service ‘Better Start, Better Future’, for babies who have, or are at risk of having cerebral palsy. Our approach to early intervention is parent/carer-led, individualised, and holistic. It places families at the centre of their child’s care, recognising their expertise with their baby.

Research shows that the brain is at its most plastic and adaptable during the first 2 years of life. Therefore, this is an important window of opportunity for families and their infants at high risk of cerebral palsy for specialist intervention. Future outcomes for babies are maximised when intervention begins as early as possible and considers the whole family.

The main aim of our intervention is to promote the baby’s own activity and participation, supporting them to reach their full potential not just in terms of their mobility, but also early learning and communication.

Support organisations and charities

Some babies can experience profound and severe consequences following a birth injury. Sadly for some, this may mean they will have short lives.

If you have been told that your baby is unlikely to live into adulthood, we understand the deep sense of grief and uncertainty that this will bring. Tŷ Hafan provides essential support to help you navigate this uncertainty and distress. You do not have to go through this journey alone.

We can provide you and your family with practical and emotional support whenever you need it and for however long you need it, including a wide range of therapies designed to enhance your child’s wellbeing. Our focus is always on what your child can do, rather than what they are unable to do, to help you make the most out of the precious time you have together.

If your baby or child becomes seriously unwell, we may be able to offer a tranquil place of care for you all. We have a Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist who can guide you through our services and identify how we can best support you.