Most cases of fetal distress are diagnosed based on an abnormal fetal heart rate. An abnormal fetal heart rate is diagnosed through careful and continual monitoring of your unborn child’s heart rate. Your baby’s heart rate is usually monitored using one of the following two methods:
- Continuous electronic fetal heart monitoring
- Doppler ultrasound fetal heart monitoring
A member of your health care team will use a medical device to check your unborn child’s heart rate every fifteen minutes. These checks will likely be performed during early labor and following each contraction during late labor.
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Defining and Treating Fetal Distress
Fetal Distress denotes any signs before and during the process of childbirth that gives the indication that your unborn baby is not doing well. It is an unusual impediment to typical labor and most often occurs when your unborn son or daughter is not receiving enough oxygen.
In some cases where Fetal Distress is diagnosed, it can be treated, corrected, or resolved in one of the following ways:
- You will be given oxygen during labor
- The amount of fluids you are given intravenously will be increased
- You might be asked to turn and position yourself on either side
When your doctor detects an abnormal heart rate in your unborn son or daughter, he may employ these remedies to correct your child’s heart rate and ensure safe delivery.
Treating Fetal Distress When Your Doctor Prescribed Oxytocin
When your doctor induces your labor, he may use a variety of methods to help your labor get started or to help it move along at a faster pace. Your doctor may induce your labor by manually rupturing your membranes, using prostaglandins (medication to ripen or soften your cervix), or prescribing oxytocin.
Oxytocin is delivered intravenously to start your contractions or to make them stronger. The medication enters your body at a steady rate and might be slowly increased if needed. During the use of oxytocin, your baby’s heart rate and the strength of your contractions should be carefully monitored.
Because contractions that are too strong or too close together might lead to Fetal Distress, if medication such as oxytocin was used to stimulate your contractions, it will be stopped right away. If no drug or medication was used to stimulate your contractions, you might be given one that can slow down your labor or stop your contractions altogether.
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Factors That Contribute to Fetal Distress
It can be frustrating and scary when your labor is disrupted because of a concern with the regularity of your child’s heartbeat. Factors that may contribute to having Fetal Distress diagnosed in your newborn include:
- Your pregnancy lasts too long—a condition called postmaturity
- Pregnancy and labor complications like difficult or rapid labor
- Contractions that are unusually strong or unusually close together
When one or more of these factors are present, your doctor and other members of your medical team should monitor your labor carefully and look for appropriate solutions.
Causes of Postmaturity In Pregnancy
An overdue or postmature pregnancy can be a frustrating, distressing, uncomfortable experience. It can leave you feeling tired and anxious and looking for a cause and a solution. Your due date is a calculated estimate of when your unborn baby will reach the forty-week mark. In order for your pregnancy to be considered postmature, it must exceed that date by two full weeks. In the following situations, you may be more likely to endure a postmature pregnancy:
- A first pregnancy
- A prior pregnancy that was overdue
- Your unborn baby is a boy
- Your due date was incorrectly calculated
- Problems with your placenta or your baby
Pregnancy postmaturity poses serious risks like a significantly large newborn, the need for a Cesarean (C-section), and shoulder dystocia, a condition where your baby’s shoulder becomes stuck behind your pelvic bone. Whatever caused your case of pregnancy postmaturity, it will not last forever, and your labor could begin at any time.
Speak to An Attorney About Your Newborn’s Fetal Distress
Few things cause anxiety and fear in a laboring mother like having Fetal Distress diagnosed in your unborn child. When your pregnancy is impaired by an occurrence of Fetal Distress, you are entitled to answers. An attorney can help you understand what caused your baby’s case of Fetal Distress and how it might affect your child’s current and future health.
Your son or daughter deserves the prompt medical attention that will provide them with the best prognosis for the future. An attorney can help you receive the financial compensation your child is entitled to. If fetal distress is diagnosed in your child, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with an attorney near you today.