WHAT IS FETAL DISTRESS?
Fetal distress, typically first indicated by an abnormal fetal heart rate, is a sign during childbirth that the fetus is in trouble. While administering oxygen or fluids to the mother may help, quick action may need to be taken to deliver the baby.
Mismanagement of fetal distress is dangerous and potentially deadly. Our Pittsburgh birth injury attorneys help families whose children have suffered harm due to negligence and errors in the delivery room.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FETAL MONITORING
Because an abnormal heart rate is typically the first sign of fetal distress, medical professionals should:
Use electronic fetal heart monitoring to continuously monitor a fetus’s heart rate; and/or
Use a handheld ultrasound device to check fetal heart rate every 15 minutes during early delivery and after every contraction later in labor.
MANAGING FETAL DISTRESS
If an abnormal heart rate is detected, it is up to the attending doctor to determine the best course of action. This decision should be made with all the information at hand, based on the doctor’s experience and training. It should be made with the best interests of mother and baby in mind, as well as the mother’s wishes.
The following may be initially used to address fetal distress:
Administer oxygen to the mother
Administer additional fluids to the mother
Change the mother’s position
If that does not help and a fetus is still showing signs of distress, immediate delivery is recommended. This may be accomplished by C-section, by forceps or vacuum extractor delivery, or by other means to naturally deliver the baby as quickly as possible.
Was fetal distress mishandled during delivery? Call a Pittsburgh birth injury lawyer at 800-392-4529 for support and guidance on this important matter.