When the term fetal distress is used, it simply means your unborn child is not handling part of the labor process well. Your baby is not getting the amount of oxygen he needs, or the strength and intensity of your contractions are negatively affecting his heart rate. Fetal distress can be mistaken for other ailments or diseases as well.
Poor oxygen supply and umbilical cord issues are the most common contributors to birth asphyxia. When the medical providers caring for you and your baby understand the cause of the asphyxia, they are better able to treat it.
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How Physicians Define and Treat Fetal Distress
Fetal distress refers to the signs and symptoms that indicate that your unborn child is not doing well before or during labor. It can occur when your pregnancy lasts longer than forty-two weeks or when your contractions are too close together.
Fetal distress is detected by measuring your unborn baby’s heart rate. An abnormal heart rate is an indicator of fetal distress. When fetal distress is detected in your child, it is treated by supplying you with extra oxygen, increased intravenous fluid, repositioning you onto one side, or by delivering your baby as quickly as possible.
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How Physicians Define and Treat Birth Asphyxia
Birth asphyxia means your baby is not getting enough oxygen and blood, which can cause a host of problems in his brain and other organs. How birth asphyxia is treated depends on its severity. If your baby’s case of birth asphyxia is mild, he might recover fully with time and with help breathing. If your baby’s case is more severe, he might need the help of a ventilator to breathe, nitric oxide through a breathing tube, or a heart-lung pump that provides life support. Physicians will discuss the treatment options with you and make decisions based on what will provide the best outcome for your child.
Monitoring Your Baby’s Fetal Heart Rate
During prenatal visits, your baby’s heart rate will be routinely checked. You are probably familiar with the external form of the monitoring known as a Doppler fetal monitor. It uses a handheld device pressed into your abdomen to locate and listen to your baby’s heartbeat. There is also the ultrasound, similar to the Doppler fetal monitor, which produces images of the fetus on a small screen in the doctor’s office during your visit.
While you are in labor, doctors and nurses will check and monitor your baby’s heart rate. The readings from the Doppler can be seen on a screen and read on a computer printout to help detect any causes for concern.
While it can be stressful to hear your baby’s heartbeat veer from normal to distressful, doctors and nurses should be able to explain what is going on and help you understand the options available to safeguard your baby’s birth.
When your baby’s fetal heart rate is monitored internally, an electrode is attached to your baby’s head and threaded through your cervix, then connected to a monitor. This method gives better readings because things like movement do not affect it. Internal monitoring is often used when external monitoring fails to give a good reading, or your doctor wants to watch your baby more closely.
Your physician might also employ fetal heart rate monitoring during other tests. Such testing can:
- Record how your unborn baby’s heart reacts to his own movement
- Record how he reacts to your contractions.
- Utilize ultrasounds to monitor your baby’s movements
Doctors and nurses will help you understand the results of each test and what the results mean for your baby, his health, and the progress of your labor.
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Contact a Fetal Distress Lawyer
If your child experienced fetal distress or suffered a birth injury due to birth asphyxia, you may be eligible to receive compensation for you and your child’s injuries. You could recover damages to cover your current medical bills and your child’s future needs. An attorney might be able to help you compile a successful birth injury lawsuit on behalf of your son or daughter.
Knowing that fetal distress can be mistaken for other ailments or diseases, we urge you to contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 if your child was misdiagnosed.