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Fetal Distress: Its Causes and Solutions

Posted on March 13, 2017

The welcoming of a newborn into the world should be a joyous occasion, but some families are affected by acts of medical malpractice during labor that can lead to serious consequences. Fetal distress is one example of a grave medical condition that doctors must quickly recognize and treat to prevent additional complications. If you feel that your child was affected by birth injuries because of a doctor’s negligence, consider speaking with a legal advocate about your family’s rights.

Fetal Distress
Fetal distress is a broad term that means the baby isn’t getting enough oxygen. Fetal distress usually develops during labor, but may also arise during the third trimester. Babies who are in distress will have a weak heartbeat and reduced movement, as evidenced by a reduced kick count.

Causes
There are many factors that can contribute to fetal distress, including anemia and high blood pressure of the mother. Fetal infections, umbilical cord compression, and placental abruption are other possible causes. Expecting mothers of multiples and those who develop gestational diabetes are at an increased risk. Fetal distress is also associated with oligohydramnios, which refers to a lower level of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby.

Treatments
Fetal distress is a serious health risk that requires prompt medical intervention. If the doctor fails to diagnose and treat fetal distress in a timely manner, the baby is at a higher risk of developing brain injuries, including brain damage that can cause cerebral palsy or mental retardation. Doctors who do detect fetal distress can treat it by administering supplemental oxygen and intravenous fluids to the mother. It’s also treatable with amnioinfusion, which involves introducing fluid directly into the amniotic cavity to free a compressed umbilical cord. If these treatments do not work, the doctor must perform an emergency C-section.

If your baby has been affected by birth injuries in the Long Island, New York area, you can find the legal solutions you’re looking for at Pegalis & Erickson, LLC. We are a team of medical negligence lawyers who have made it our life’s work to advocate on behalf of families affected by medical malpractice. You can reach us at (516) 858-2194 to request a no-charge case review.