Fetal distress is a birth complication that signals the baby’s health is in danger. Fetal distress usually indicates that a child is suffering from ischemia (low blood supply) or hypoxia (low blood oxygen). Failure to respond to fetal distress properly can cause infant brain damage or fatality.
Risk Factors for Fetal Distress
A mother who has diabetes or an infection like rubella during pregnancy is at an elevated risk for fetal distress. Routine testing during various stages in pregnancy should reveal risk factors like this. In a normal, healthy birth, any risks for fetal distress are identified early and managed carefully so as not to send the baby into ischemia or hypoxia. In many fetal distress cases, a doctor overlooked important signs of elevated risk, putting both mother and child in danger.
Then there are emergency situations that arise during the delivery process which can either cause or increase the risk of fetal distress. Abruption of the placenta or rupture of the uterine wall are two examples of complications that can lead to fetal distress. Prolonged labor or induced labor are two scenarios where fetal distress is more likely to occur.
Fetal distress that is not treated immediately with C-section or blood-oxygen enhancement methods can cause permanent neurological or cognitive disability. A doctor or nurse may be found guilty of labor and delivery negligence if he or she failed to identify these complications or respond to them according to accepted standards of care.
An electronic fetal monitor indicates fetal distress by alerting the doctors that a lack of oxygen to the brain is causing an abnormal heart rate. One of the most common errors in fetal distress cases involves the delivery team’s failure to monitor heart rate and other vital signs.
Determining Liability in a Fetal Distress Case
If your delivery doctor failed to identify or monitor your high-risk pregnancy, you may have a right to compensation based on medical malpractice laws. With a thorough investigation, an experienced birth injury attorney can discover if the well-being of the mother and child were ignored or overlooked.