Schmitt Mulhern, LLC

3 common questions about fetal distress

No matter what the cause or outcome, all injuries to a mother or baby during delivery are traumatic. A day that was supposed to be one of the happiest days in a parent's life, suddenly takes a turn when a medical mistake leads to any type of injury.

One term that many expecting parents no doubt heard a lot of prior to delivery is "fetal distress." However, as the American Pregnancy Association points out, not everyone is familiar with exactly what this means and how it applies to pregnancy and delivery. In this post, we will answer some common questions regarding fetal distress.

What is fetal distress?

Fetal distress, also known as "nonreassuring fetal status," typically describes when the fetus is not receiving proper oxygen. This more commonly happens during delivery, but can also happen during the third trimester of pregnancy.

There are many different causes of fetal distress, including illness, infection and compression to the umbilical cord. While some women may be more at risk than others, it's important for all women to be properly monitored, as fetal distress can happen to anyone.

What are signs of fetal distress during deliver?

During delivery, if the mother chooses to be monitored through electronic fetal heart rate monitoring, a sign of distress is an abnormal fetal heart rate. Medical staff should be paying attention to the monitoring and responding appropriately if there is a change to the baby's heart rate.

During pregnancy, one sign of fetal distress -- aside from a change in heart rate -- is also a change to how often the fetus is moving in utero.

What responsibilities does medical staff have?

Doctors and nurses need to be monitoring for fetal stress. This needs to happen not only during the delivery, but also during pregnancy. For an obstetrician, this means listening to all of the concerns and symptoms a mother has during her pregnancy and ordering the proper tests based on these checkups and measurements.

Sadly, though, mistakes happen during pregnancy and delivery. When this happens, the consequences can be severe for mother and baby. Add to this the fact that there is a statute of limitations when it comes to filing a birth injury lawsuit and it becomes imperative for a family to reach out to an attorney as soon as there is reason to suspect negligence as the cause.

At Schmitt Mulhern, LLC we handle all types of birth injury cases, including those involving failure to monitor fetal distress and pregnancy complications. We will act quickly to preserve all evidence and talk to any witnesses. Our goal is to get families the compensation they need to help cope with and manage the symptoms stemming from birth injuries.

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

Matt Mulhern

Attorney Matt Mulhern

Mr. Mulhern has over 25 years of legal experience and a 100 percent success rate arguing before the Missouri Court of Appeals. He has a unique knowledge of the inner workings of insurance companies and how they will dispute your injury claim. He practices in both Missouri and Kansas.