Fetal distress is a complication you and your unborn child might experience during your labor. It usually occurs when your fetus fails to receive a sufficient supply of oxygen. During your labor, your baby’s heart rate is monitored to ensure their oxygen levels remain steady.
Fetal distress is a serious concern for you and for your unborn baby. Some issues that should be considered following a fetal distress diagnosis include:
- Whether you should have been given additional oxygen
- Whether oxytocin was used to stimulate contractions
- Whether your baby should be born using C-section versus vaginal delivery
When your unborn child is diagnosed with fetal distress, your medical team should consider the measures that will ensure a safe delivery for your child.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
Fetal Monitoring Can Protect Your Unborn Baby
Shortly after you are admitted to the hospital, a doctor or other health care professional will listen to your unborn baby’s heartbeat. Either a special type of stethoscope, called a fetoscope, or a handheld Doppler will be used to listen to your baby’s heart. Your medical team performs this important monitoring to determine whether your baby’s heart rate is normal. They want to know if your baby is in distress because some abnormalities can indicate that your baby is not receiving enough oxygen. Your baby’s heart rate can be monitored in several ways:
- Externally using a device attached to your abdomen that sends and receives ultrasound waves.
- Internally using an electrode, a small round sensor attached to a wire, inserted through your vagina and attached to the scalp of your unborn baby.
Because adverse medical conditions must be considered following a fetal distress diagnosis, fetal monitoring is used to continuously monitor your contractions. During the first stage of labor, your baby’s heart rate is monitored periodically. During the second stage of labor, your baby’s heart rate is monitored following each contraction.
Birth Injury Lawyer Near Me 1-800-222-9529
What Will Be Done When Fetal Monitoring Detects Signs of Distress
If your unborn baby’s heart rate shows signs of a serious abnormality, one of the following corrective measures might be taken:
- You may be given oxygen
- Intravenous fluids may be given
- You may be turned onto your left or right side
- If oxytocin was used, it should be stopped
If your labor started on its own but your baby’s system is not tolerating labor well, your doctor might give you medicine to slow down your labor or to stop it altogether. If your baby is still struggling, you might have to have an emergency C-section, or your doctor might use another emergency method to help your baby through the birth canal.
When a C-Section Is Unplanned
An emergency C-section can be scary because of the rush to deliver the baby and because of the procedure itself. During a C-section, your doctor will cut through your belly and uterus to remove your baby from the womb. Your doctor will usually only choose this major surgery when it is absolutely necessary for your health or if your baby’s life appears to be in jeopardy. An unplanned C-section may be recommended if:
- Your labor fails to progress
- Your unborn baby shows signs of fetal distress
- Your baby is in an abnormal birth presentation
- You are carrying multiple children
- You are experiencing a problem with your placenta
- Your baby has a prolapsed umbilical cord
If one of these situations occurs during the labor process, your doctor may suggest a C-section delivery as the best and safest delivery option for you and your baby.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Your Doctor Might Opt for Forceps or Vacuum Extraction
A forceps delivery uses an instrument shaped like large spoons or salad tongs to guide your baby’s head out of your birth canal. It is typically done when you are pushing, when labor is not progressing as expected, and when the safe birth of your unborn child depends on an immediate delivery. Your doctor might consider a forceps delivery if:
- Your cervix is fully dilated
- Your membranes are ruptured
- Your baby is positioned headfirst in your birth canal
- You are unable to successfully push your baby out
Forceps might also be used if your labor fails to progress despite continued pushing, if your labor is prolonged, or if your baby’s heartbeat suggests a potential problem.
During vacuum extraction, a cup that might be either soft or rigid and contains a handle and vacuum pump that is attached to your baby’s head to guide him out of the birth canal. Similar to a forceps delivery, it is done while you push, in circumstances where immediate delivery is deemed necessary.
Your doctor might opt for a vacuum extraction if your labor becomes unproductive despite your best efforts at pushing, if your baby’s heart rate indicates a concern, or if you have a medical concern.
Speak to a Fetal Distress Attorney Near You
If your child suffered from this birth complication, you deserve to know what needs to be considered following a fetal distress diagnosis. An attorney can help you understand how your child’s future is impacted and how you can receive the legal and financial help you need to ensure a favorable prognosis. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to schedule your free consultation.