Fetal Distress and Your Legal Claims
An expecting mother must be aware of the many possible complications that may occur during pregnancy. Fetal distress is one of these complications.
Fetal distress occurs when the baby does not receive an adequate amount of oxygen, placing the child at risk. Many other complications have been associated with fetal distress. Though its occurrence is considered uncommon, one must still take precautions to address it properly.
What Causes Fetal Distress?
Several things may lead to fetal distress. Similarly, certain risk factors may increase the chance of the occurrence of fetal distress. These include the following:
- Abnormal fetal presentation: Fetal presentation refers to which part of the baby exits the mother first. Abnormal fetal presentations can increase the risk of fetal distress.
- Uterine rupture: The muscular walls of the uterus may rupture during childbirth.
- Shoulder dystocia: Shoulder dystocia refers to when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck against the mother’s public bone. This is considered an obstetric emergency because it can lead to other complications.
- Nuchal cord: There is an obstetric emergency when the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the baby’s neck.
- Umbilical cord prolapse: Sometimes, the umbilical cord presents itself before the baby does. This condition, known as umbilical cord prolapse, is another risk factor for fetal distress.
- Placental abruption: The placenta is a structure inside the uterus that helps provide the baby with oxygen and nutrients. In placental abruption, the placenta is separated from the uterus early, reducing the amount of nutrients and oxygen that the baby receives.
When some of the above factors occur, immediate action must be taken by the attending healthcare professional. Failure to do so can lead to the worsening of fetal distress and may be grounds for malpractice.
What to Watch Out For
The risk factors and causes previously mentioned do not necessarily cause fetal distress. However, when it does occur, several signs and symptoms present themselves. Among the things to watch out for are the following:
- Decreased fetal movement: The mother may notice decreased movement from the baby during pregnancy. It may be an indicator of low oxygen levels in the womb.
- Amniotic fluid levels: Tests can reveal the amount of amniotic fluid in the womb. If there’s an abnormally high or abnormally low level, then the chances of fetal distress may increase.
- Presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid: Meconium refers to the stool that infants excrete. It’s only released after the baby is born, so none should be present in the womb. Meconium in the amniotic fluid therefore increases risk.
- Abnormal contractions: Abnormal contractions of the mother during labor and childbirth may trigger fetal distress. The healthcare professional must be constantly aware of the status of these contractions.
- Biophysical profile (BPP) and blood chemistry testing: All mothers should regularly get check-ups during pregnancy. One of the standard tests is called BPP, which can reveal much about the baby’s status. A low BPP may indicate inadequacy in oxygenation. Similarly, blood testing of the baby during childbirth can reveal the occurrence of fetal distress.
Once fetal distress becomes apparent, taking prompt actions is necessary to reduce the risk to both the mother and the baby.
Detecting and Dealing with Fetal Distress
Early detection and action are the best ways to reduce the risk and chances of complications. Among the most common ways of detecting and dealing with fetal distress are the following.
- Fetal Heart Rate (FHR) monitoring is one of the best ways to detect fetal distress through FHR. This allows doctors to monitor several factors related to the health of both the baby and the mother.
- Intrauterine resuscitation aims to improve the flow of blood to both the umbilical cord and the placenta. Doing so can improve oxygenation.
- Other interventions: There are other available interventions, such as medications and other treatment methods.
The complications of fetal distress can be minimized or prevented with proper action. Make sure that you consult an experienced healthcare professional who can help reduce risk.
Your Legal Rights against Fetal Distress during Pregnancy or Childbirth in Okemos, MI
The complications of fetal distress can be severe. If you believe that these complications may have been preventable, then you could file a medical malpractice suit.
The Clark Law Office is the most experienced in Lansing, Michigan. If you need legal assistance regarding a birth injury case as a result of fetal distress, we’re your best bet. Call us at +1 (517) 347-6900 as soon as possible.