What Is Fetal Distress And How Can It Be Responsible For A Brain Injury?
Fetal distress is a term that has historically been used to describe a condition in which the baby does not get enough oxygen. During labor and delivery, doctors and nurses can use certain tools, such as the electronic fetal heart monitor, to help them monitor how well a baby is tolerating a vaginal delivery. If “non-reassuring” patterns are detected on the monitor, and persist for a considerable amount of time, doctors must be prepared to move to an emergency C-section to help the baby.
As the fetal heart monitor tracks the baby’s heart rate (and other things), doctors can get an approximate picture as to how the baby is responding to the labor. When fetal distress is present, an injury to the brain can occur. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is one way in which a baby can suffer a brain injury due to fetal distress.
What Can Cause Fetal Distress During Labor And Delivery?
Remember, when a baby is suffering from an inadequate oxygen supply, fetal distress can occur. Below are some of the medical conditions during delivery which can lead to fetal distress:
The Presence Of Meconium & Other Factors
Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
Umbilical Cord Prolapse
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
Shoulder Dystocia (Compressed Umbilical Cord)
Umbilical Cord Knots
How Is Fetal Distress Diagnosed?
During a mother’s pregnancy doctors will monitor the wellbeing of mother and baby. For example, doctors will pay close attention to the mother’s blood pressure during her pregnancy and use tests such as an ultrasound to gauge the baby’s progress. The electronic fetal heart monitor, as mentioned above, is a tool that can be used to help doctors diagnose fetal distress. The electronic fetal heart monitor can help doctors with the following:
Monitor Mother’s Contractions
Monitor Baby’s Heart Rate: A normal heart rate for a baby during labor and delivery is between 120-160bpm.
Monitor The Patterns Generated By The Strips: Doctors and nurses will review patterns such as the presence of late decelerations, variability, etc.…
Monitor For Signs Of Bradycardia (heart rate less than 110) Or Tachycardia (heart rate above 160)
Doctors can treat fetal distress with intrauterine resuscitation measures. A list of some of the measure are listed below. With that said, if attempts at intrauterine resuscitation fail, or do not resolve themselves, then doctors must be prepared to move to an emergency C-section. Failure to timely move to the C-section can result in a brain injury, other serious injury, or death.
Treatment For Fetal Distress
Provide Oxygen To Mother
Change The Mother’s Position During Labor
Rapid Delivery Through Emergency C-Section
Do You Suspect That Your Baby’s Brain Injury Was Due To Fetal Distress?
Not reacting properly to the signs of fetal distress can be disastrous for a baby. Therefore, it is imperative for doctors to pay close attention to the signs which can reveal fetal distress. A baby with a brain injury at birth can, in some cases, develop cerebral palsy.
Boston Law Group, LLC represents victims of birth injury and medical malpractice throughout Maryland. We can help victims in:
Prince George’s County
Anne Arundel County
St. Mary’s County
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