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Identifying fetal distress through proper monitoring

News of pregnancy is typically met with joy by the expectant parents and family members in North Carolina. Choosing the doctor that will support the mother and unborn child throughout the pregnancy is an important decision as they deserve the best care possible.

According to What to Expect, fetal distress occurs when the baby experiences oxygen deprivation. This uncommon complication can have severe repercussions for both mother and child, from placental abruption and umbilical cord compression to maternal illness and fetal infection. Healthy in utero babies respond to stimuli and have strong, steady heartbeats. Several signs indicate the baby may be in distress, including their movements slowing or stopping altogether and a decreasing heart rate.

The American Pregnancy Association reports that it is critical that physicians monitor the fetus using methods like the Fetal Non-Stress test throughout the pregnancy to identify potential issues. A primary treatment for fetal distress, also called non-reassuring fetal status, is intrauterine resuscitation. There are many ways to enact this procedure, such as the following:

  • Amnioinfusion
  • Ensuring the mom is properly hydrated
  • Changing the mother’s position
  • Intravenous hypertonic dextrose
  • Therapy to delay preterm labor

Fetal distress can occur as a result of several conditions, from pregnancy-induced hypertension and anemia to the baby’s first stool blocking airways and if lower levels of amniotic fluid are present around the fetus. Close monitoring of the baby’s condition is a critical component of prenatal care. The physician may be liable if negligence in this area results in harm to the baby or mother.

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