Did My Doctor Fail to Recognize the Signs of Fetal Distress?

monitor tracking signs of fetal distress

When you arrive at the hospital to have your baby, doctors and nurses prep your room with the necessary equipment to monitor the progress and safety of your baby during labor and delivery. Medical devices, such as electronic fetal heart monitors, show your baby’s heart rate and rhythm, and they can alert your doctors and nurses of signs of fetal distress.

Fetal distress signals your medical team that they need to take action in order to alleviate the distress, or deliver the baby via an emergency C-section. If they fail to recognize the signs, your family should consult a medical malpractice attorney to file a claim for birth injury.

What is fetal distress

Fetal distress is evident when an unborn baby shows signs of intolerance of pregnancy and/or labor. These signs may be found on the electronic fetal monitor strips, which show your baby’s heart rate and rhythm during the labor process. The most common cause of fetal distress is when the fetus is deprived of adequate oxygen during labor. Typically, your doctor will be able to spot the distress early due to a drop in heart rate shown on the monitors, reduced movement of the fetus or low amniotic fluid. From there, they will assess what they need to do to reduce the distress during the labor process.

What conditions cause fetal distress? 

The signs of fetal distress may come about due to a variety of factors. However, each condition has an increased risk of reducing the amount of oxygen the fetus is able to receive during labor. The most frequent causes of fetal distress, include:

How does your doctor detect fetal distress

Electronic fetal heart monitors are an essential medical device that allow medical teams to recognize oxygen depletion of the fetus through the analysis of fetal heart patterns. It also monitors the progression of a mother’s contractions during the labor and delivery process.

There are situations that lead to misinterpretation of fetal distress by your medical team. For example, if a doctor knew the mother had a preexisting medical condition that may increase the risk for fetal distress, they must monitor the fetus closely during the pregnancy and labor. In addition, if they order monitoring during labor and they or their team fail to review the monitoring or misinterpret the results, it may lead to a delayed delivery and a birth injury, such as cerebral palsy or even death.

Helping Your Family Move Forward

If your baby suffered a serious birth injury from your doctor’s failure to recognize the signs of fetal distress, our birth injury attorneys will be able to help you carve out your family’s best path toward a successful verdict. Contact the attorneys at Zevan Davidson Roman for a free consultation about your case.

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