Fetal Monitor Abnormalities: When Something Goes Wrong
Warning Signs In The Baby’s Heart Rate
Fetal distress can occur without warning during labor. When something goes wrong, abnormal fetal monitor readings are usually the first warning sign. Abnormalities can indicate serious — and sometimes potentially fatal — problems.
These abnormalities, also called nonreassuring fetal heart tones, may include:
- Heart arrhythmia: The fetal heart rate stays above 160 beats per minute (tachycardia) or below 110 (bradycardia) for an extended period.
- Late deceleration: The fetal heart rate drops after a contraction.
- Early deceleration: The fetal heart rate drops too soon (during or before a contraction).
- Variable decelerations: The fetal heart rate drops abruptly and irregularly.
- Loss of variability: The fetal heart rate no longer has the normal fluctuations that indicate a well-progressing delivery.
- Prolonged acceleration: The fetal heart rate shows increases outside normal fluctuations.
- Absence of acceleration: The fetal heart rate fails to increase in response to stimulation.
Signs of fetal distress often require quick, decisive action. Changes in treatment, administration of oxygen or even an emergency cesarean section may be necessary to save the baby.
Failure To Properly Evaluate Fetal Monitor Readings
Medical professionals are responsible for accurately interpreting the monitor readings. When a warning sign gets overlooked — or misinterpreted — the baby can suffer lifelong consequences. Oxygen deprivation to the fetus, for example, can result in permanent brain damage, cerebral palsy or other debilitating conditions. In many cases, a timely delivery would have prevented the injury or death.
If you believe negligence in fetal monitoring may have contributed to your baby’s injury or loss, contact The Law Office of Robert H. Kleinschmidt, P.C., in Scottsdale. We are on your side. Our lawyer has decades of experience serving as an advocate for parents and their children across Arizona. Attorney Kleinschmidt and our team of experienced staff will help you get answers and pursue the compensation you deserve.