Symptoms of fetal distress
"Fetal distress" refers to signs that a fetus is not thriving during maternity or labor. Because this term is not precise, modern obstetricians may not use this phrase to describe the exact condition or symptoms they detect. A general term also used is "non-reassuring signs of fetal development."
A number of different symptoms are referred to as fetal distress or non-reassuring signs of fetal development. Some of these could be noticed by the mother. But many warning signs that something is wrong can only be detected with medical instruments and tests. These include:
- Decreased movement - The mother may feel decreased movement by the fetus. This should be immediately communicated to medical personnel.
- Stained amniotic fluid - Meconium can contaminate the amniotic fluid due to fetal distress, leading to meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS).
- Decreased or unstable heart rate - A fluctuating increase or decrease in heart rate can be detected with a fetal heart monitor.
- Biochemical signs - Fetal metabolic acidosis and lactic acidosis can be detected by collecting a small sample of the baby's blood from a scalp prick through the mother's open cervix.
Another warning sign something might be wrong includes doctors performing unusual procedures, including cooling an infant. This might be a warning sign that medical professionals made a mistake and your child has a brain injury due to lack of oxygen, a condition known as hypoxia.
Common causes of fetal distress
Because fetal distress broadly refers to the health of the unborn baby being in jeopardy, there are numerous causes, including:
- Umbilical cord problems such as umbilical cord prolapse or nuchal cord
- Birth hypoxia
- Ruptured uterus
- Shoulder dystocia
- Placental abruption
Physicians and other health care providers must make timely and appropriate medical decisions based on any combination of symptoms. For example, a doctor may decide to respond to symptoms by ordering a rapid delivery via C-section. In other instances, a doctor may simply try to treat the symptoms while the labor continues. The rapid detection of symptoms and corresponding quick action can affect the outcome of the birth.
Failure to detect symptoms of fetal distress or act upon these symptoms in a timely manner could result in birth injuries and even the infant's death. If you or your infant suffered because the medical personnel failed to detect symptoms or act upon them, you deserve compensation. The Wisconsin and Illinois fetal distress attorneys at Goldberg & Schulkin Law Offices can help you get monetary compensation and justice for your expenses and pain.
We want to help you
We understand the emotional turmoil you are experiencing. That's because we have worked with many families just like you. For more than 40 years, attorney Jeffrey M. Goldberg has been fighting for the rights of people affected by birth injuries in Illinois, Wisconsin and beyond.
You deserve results that last a lifetime. Contact us and find out how we can help you. Schedule your free case evaluation today at our Chicago or Milwaukee office. And if you can't come to us, we can come to you.
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