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Fetal Distress During Childbirth

fetusWhen a child is born, the baby must move through the birth canal in the proper position and with the proper support to ensure there is no loss of oxygen during delivery. In some situations, this does not happen, and the baby may be deprived of oxygen during the labor and delivery process. Fetal distress can occur if the child does not have adequate oxygen during the pregnancy or during childbirth. This lack of oxygen is very dangerous and often fatal. It can also lead to a variety of birth defects.

If your child suffered from fetal distress during the birthing process, it is important to gather information about what occurred, why it occurred, and whether or not it should have been prevented. In many cases, medical and/or nursing mismanagement can cause fetal distress and long term complications.

What Is Fetal Distress During Birth?

Fetal distress often describes situations in which there are abnormal  events that occur during the birthing process, leaving the  child with some signs of trauma or limited oxygen. Many children develop conditions such as cognitive delays and cerebral palsy after such incidents occur. Fetal distress indicates that there is something wrong during the birthing process that could have a long-term impact on the child’s health.

Signs of Fetal Distress

Noticing that a child is in distress is a critical component of labor and delivery medical care. Doctors and nurses have tools and resources to help monitor the child’s well-being throughout the birthing process. Signs of distress that warrant taking immediate action to help the child or to protect the mother include:

  • Decreased movement of the child;
  • Electronic fetal monitoring signs such as an increased heart rate (which often signals the child is struggling in some way); and,
  • Changes in the intensity and timing of contractions.

Electronic fetal monitors are available for medical professionals to monitor the child’s distress levels during labor and delivery. Most often, they should be utilized  during the birthing process to provide insight into the child’s condition to medical professionals. Doctors can also use internal monitors once the cervix reaches two centimeters. This, too, provides more insight into the child’s well-being during labor and delivery.

Causes of Fetal Distress

Doctors and nurses who promptly recognize fetal distress can  take steps to rectify the problem, and avoid devastating complications.    Negligent medical and nursing management during labor and delivery can occur in the following ways:

  • A very aggressive delivery process, such as the use of vacuum extraction or forceps to encourage the child to be delivered faster. This may cause shoulder dystocia, other physical injuries to the child, and brain damage.
  • Poor monitoring of the fetal activity during the delivery process, which often leads to injuries such as hypoxia, cerebral palsy, and brain damage. This is often due to poor blood or oxygen flow to the brain. It may be brought on by compression of the umbilical cord as well.
  • Conditions such as anemia and oligohydramnios are also possible. Pregnancy-induced hypertension, a very long pregnancy, or intrauterine growth retardation are also possible causes of fetal distress.

If your child has suffered any type of fetal distress, the actions or inactions of the medical professionals that provided care during the labor and delivery process may be very important to understand. A child that suffers damage due to a lack of oxygen may struggle with brain damage that lasts for his or her entire life. This can cause significant financial loss, the loss of your child’s quality of life, and other complications.

Schedule a Consultation to Discuss Fetal Distress with Your Austin Injury Attorneys

Our team is available to you and your family to discuss the details of what happened during labor and delivery.    We will be frank and honest about your options in filing a claim or pursuing medical malpractice settlements or lawsuits. Do not delay in obtaining legal help for this type of action in Texas.

If you suspect that negligence played a role in your child’s birth injuries, do not delay in speaking to one of our birth injury lawyers in Austin today. The Cagle Law Firm  is just a phone call away from answering each one of your questions. We encourage you to gather more information by contacting us for a free consultation.

Photo Source: Jerry Lai

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