The term, “fetal distress”, is hated by the medical community for a good reason. Fetal distress is a term used to indicate that your baby is not getting enough oxygen during your pregnancy and the lack of oxygen to your baby can cause long-term neurological injuries, cerebral palsy and death.

Fetal distress is extremely serious condition and should be handled right away if it is not or is handled improperly it is important to contact a fetal distress attorney to hold the negligent party responsible. To learn more or begin your claim schedule a consultation with a diligent birth injury attorney today.

Signs of Fetal Distress

The most reliable sign of fetal distress is very old school: the mother’s instincts. It is often the case that mom knows better than any physician that her baby is in trouble and this is often revealed by decreased movement of the baby felt by the mother. If the baby is not moving in the mother’s womb, this is the number one sign of fetal distress and that the baby may need to be delivered immediately.

The fetal heart rate pattern provides valuable clues about the baby’s status. When an electronic fetal monitor is attached to the mother’s abdomen, a continuous tracking of your baby’s heart can indicate that your baby is in distress. The fetal heart rate should range between 100 and 160 beats per minute; a fetal heart rate that is either too low (less than 100 beats per minute) or too high (over 160 beats per minute) can indicate that your baby is not receiving enough oxygen and may need to be delivered.

Another sign that might necessitate calling a fetal distress lawyer is the presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid. Meconium is discoloration of the amniotic fluid caused by your baby’s first stool. If the amniotic fluid appears green after the mother’s membranes have ruptured, your baby may be in trouble.

Late and Variable Decelerations

There are two key terms to remember about fetal heart tracing: late decelerations and variable decelerations. They are both bad for your baby. Late decelerations mean that the decrease in the fetal heart rate from the baseline rate has a lag time of twenty seconds from the peak of the contractions to the bottom of the fetal heart rate deceleration. Persistent late decelerations in the fetal heart rate tracing is a sign of fetal distress.

Variable decelerations in the fetal heart tracing refer to decreases in the fetal heart tracing from the baseline rate that are non-uniform changes that bear little relationship to uterine contractions. Variable decelerations are a sign of fetal distress since they are a deviation from the steady pattern of uterine contractions and heart decelerations that are a sign of fetal well-being. A fetal distress attorney could provide more insight into these concepts.

When an electronic fetal monitor (EFM) is applied to your abdomen, you should ask your doctor, nurse-midwife or labor and delivery nurse whether the fetal heart tracings have any late decelerations or variable decelerations. If there is a persistent pattern of late decelerations or variable decelerations over the course of two minutes, your baby is likely not getting enough oxygen and may need to be delivered.

Contact a Fetal Distress Attorney Today

Fetal distress is often temporary and can be resolved with simple measures such as turning the mother on her left side, administering oxygen by mask and performing a vaginal examination to check for a prolapsed umbilical cord. If these interventions do not improve the signs of fetal distress, your care providers must be ready for an emergency cesarean section.

Every minute counts in these situations. Long-term neurological injuries, cerebral palsy and disability can result if distress is ignored or neglected by your care providers. You should be familiar with the signs and, most importantly, trust your instincts if you have a gut feeling that something is wrong with your baby.

Please contact a fetal distress lawyer today if you are in need of support.