Fetal distress, also known as nonreassuring fetal status (NRFS), is a broad medical term used to describe a baby’s health status while in utero, especially during labor and delivery. Generally, it means that the baby has an inadequate supply of blood and oxygen. Without immediate medical intervention, it is possible for the child to suffer brain damage or to die from asphyxia. At The Law Office of Robert H. Kleinschmidt, P.C., in Scottsdale, our attorney works hard to help hold negligent medical professionals accountable and to help you recover the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled.
Causes Of Fetal Distress
During pregnancy, the placenta supplies oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s body to the baby. If something goes wrong and the placenta detaches from the uterus prior to delivery, the condition — known as placental abruption— can lead to maternal hemorrhaging and fetal distress due to oxygen deprivation.
Other pregnancy complications that may cause fetal distress are listed here:
Prolapsed umbilical cord — An umbilical cord that falls beneath a baby or into the mother’s vagina during childbirth is called a prolapsed cord. As a baby makes his or her way down the birth canal, the pressure of the baby’s body against the umbilical cord may cause the cord to compress and to deprive the baby of blood and oxygen from the placenta.
Abnormal presentation — When a baby presents in the breach position or in any other abnormal position, labor can be difficult or protracted. Cesarean delivery may be necessary to prevent fetal distress.
Shoulder dystocia — If an infant’s shoulder becomes lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone, the head is able to deliver, but the body remains inside the birth canal. The baby’s oxygen levels may plummet due to compression of the chest and umbilical cord against the walls of the pelvis.
Uterine rupture — Although uterine rupture is rare, the condition can occur in women who have scarring from a previous cesarean section. Violent contractions due to labor-inducing drugs such as Pitocin can also increase the risk of a uterine tear or rupture. This can be fatal to the fetus unless an immediate cesarean section is performed.
Symptoms Of Fetal Distress
A baby in distress may show some or all of the following signs:
- Deterioration of the fetal heart rate (bradycardia)
- Meconium (baby’s first stool) is present within the amniotic fluid
- A blood test taken from a baby’s scalp shows the presence of acid in the baby’s bloodstream
Contact Us For Help With Your Ongoing Financial And Medical Needs
If your medical team failed to recognize signs of fetal distress, and your child was profoundly injured during delivery, he may need ongoing medical assistance. If you are considering a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible doctor or hospital, call us today at 480-951-3949 or contact us online to talk to an Arizona lawyer. We provide legal representation to families throughout the greater Phoenix area.