What Does it Mean if Your Baby is Born Blue?

Posted on September 19th, 2019
By Steven Gursten
What Does it Mean if Your Baby is Born Blue?

When you imagined your child’s first moments, you imagined that he or she would be born healthy and ready to take on whatever life might bring his or her way. You imagined a moment filled with overwhelming joy and curiosity amount what the future might hold. You never imagined that your child could be born with a serious medical condition. But your child was born blue, and now you are wondering what the future has in store for an entirely different reason.

What Can Cause a Baby to Be Born Blue?

When a baby is born blue, this is a sign that there is an abnormally low amount of oxygen in his or her blood. The condition is commonly called blue baby syndrome and may be the result of a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) or a condition known as infant methemoglobinemia. In either case, the blue pigment is symptomatic of an inadequate amount of oxygen. As explained by Medical News Today:

“When the blood is unable to carry oxygen around the body, the baby turns blue (cyanotic)… The most common cause of blue baby syndrome is water contaminated with nitrates. After a baby drinks formula made with nitrate-rich water, the body converts the nitrates into nitrites. These nitrites bind to the hemoglobin in the body, forming methemoglobin, which is unable to carry oxygen.”

In essence, if a baby is born blue, this is because there is not enough oxygen to support health red blood cell development. Red blood cells are only red when they have enough oxygen. If a baby is born hypoxic (without enough oxygen in the blood), then his or her skin will be blue in pigment rather than red.

What are the Health Risks Associated with Blue Baby Syndrome (Infant Methemoglobinemia)?

The health risks associated with blue baby syndrome vary depending on the severity of the newborn’s condition. Along with blue skin pigmentation, other potential effects include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeding issues and difficulty gaining weight
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (which can lead to dehydration)
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Seizures

In severe cases, blue baby syndrome will need to be treated as a medical emergency, as hypoxia has the potential to be fatal if not treated promptly.

What Should I Do if My Baby was Born Blue?

If your baby was born blue, the first and most important thing you need to do is to see a doctor immediately. Even if your child’s condition is the result of a medical mistake (as is often the case), you still need to place your trust in a specialist who is capable of properly diagnosing and treating your baby. If you aren’t sure where to go for help, a medical malpractice attorney in your area should be able to refer you to a doctor who has a strong reputation for providing quality care.

Speaking with a medical malpractice attorney is also important for another reason: The costs of treating blue baby syndrome will often far exceed what families can afford to pay, and children (and their parents) can experience other financial and non-financial effects due to hypoxia and related conditions as well. If your child’s condition is the result of a medical error, then you may be entitled to full compensation for your family’s financial and non-financial losses, and you will need to hire a medical malpractice lawyer to help you recover the compensation your family deserves.

Contact Taos Injury Lawyers About Your Case

If your child was born blue and you would like to speak with an attorney, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, submit our online contact form today.

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