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What Is Fetal Distress?

For most Washington families, the birth of a child is a joyous time filled with celebration and love. Most pregnancies progress to full term without issue. However, complications can occur in even the healthiest mothers. At Elk & Elk Co., Ltd. we often represent clients whose child sustained injuries at or near the time of birth due to doctor negligence or a medical error.

American Pregnancy Association reports that fetal distress can occur throughout your pregnancy and during labor. Typically, the term refers to a situation in which the fetus receives inadequate amounts of oxygen, but it has become a generic term that can describe many issues. Birth asphyxia occurs as a result of insufficient oxygen before, during or after birth. This may happen if the umbilical cord becomes compressed, reducing the blood flow to the fetus or if the mother’s blood has low oxygen levels.

Several conditions may indicate fetal distress:

  • Pregnancy Induced Hypertension
  • Anemia
  • Intrauterine Growth Retardation
  • Oligohydramnios
  • Meconium-stained amniotic fluid

Pregnancies that continue longer than 42 weeks may also suggest there is a problem. A fetus heart rate can indicate distress, many physicians and health care professionals use fetal heart rate monitoring. Not only can it recognize hypoxia development, but it can also monitor contractions, which can affect a positive outcome for high-risk deliveries. However, it also carries a higher likelihood of a C-section as a misinterpretation of the FHR monitoring results is not uncommon.

If your medical professional did not respond to potential issues or took incorrect action upon reading the FHR results, he or she may be liable for your child’s birth injuries.