Fetal Distress in Labor

Fetal Distress in Labor

A baby who is compromised in labor is in distress. The medical term for fetal stress is that the nonreassuring fetal status (NRFS), which describes a baby’s health late within the pregnancy or during labor.
Reasons for fetal distress are varied from cord issues to fetal anomalies, reactions to medications or the strain of labor, and other complications of labor.


While you’ll not experience physical symptoms, signs of fetal distress may include:

 Less movement from the fetus

 Abnormal fetal pulse (too slow, too fast, or irregular)

 Meconium, fetal stool, within the amnionic fluid


NRFS will be an indicator of various obstetric, maternal, or fetal conditions, including:1

 Anemia, or an iron deficiency

 Diabetes

 Infection

 IUGR ( Intrauterine growth retardation ) previously referred to as intrauterine growth retardation, refers to a size deficiency in your baby

 Maternal cardiovascular disease

 Oligohydramnios, or low amnionic fluid

 Placenta abruption

 Pregnancy-induced hypertension, or high vital sign during pregnancy

 Pregnancies that have progressed past 42 weeks


You’ll likely have the following tests to diagnose the distress:

 Biophysical profile, which is an ultrasound test that checks your baby’s pulse, muscle tone, movement, breathing, and therefore the amount of amnionic fluid around your baby.

 Nonstress test, which monitors accelerations and de-accelerations of the baby’s pulse, also as any contractions you’ll be having.

 A contraction stress test, during which you’re given a little amount of Pitocin via IV and monitored to see how your baby responds to contractions via the electronic fetal monitor

Monitoring fetal distress

When you are parturient, your baby could also be monitored all of the time (continuous monitoring) or at set times (intermittent). Monitoring also can be done externally (outside of the body) or internally (inside of the body), or both. generally, if you’re low risk, you will probably experience external, intermittent monitoring.

Methods of Monitoring

The type of monitoring used will depend upon your risk of complications, how your labor goes, and therefore the overall policy of your ob-gyn or hospital.

The common methods of monitoring your baby include:

 Fetal auscultation, away used on low-risk mothers where a special stethoscope or device called a Doppler transducer is used to periodically hear the fetal heartbeat.

 Fetal monitoring, a way that uses special equipment to live the response of the fetus’s pulse to contractions of the uterus.

During Labor

Monitoring during labor can help your care team recognize and/or monitor the following:

 Hypoxia, when the fetus doesn’t receive adequate oxygen

 Contractions

 High-risk deliveries

 Cerebral palsy

 Impending fetal death

The electronic fetal monitor uses two straps that go around your abdomen. One measures the baby’s pulse, and therefore the other measures your contractions or uterine activity.

Using the graphs of the guts rate, your doctors or midwives are looking to see if the heart rate stays within certain parameters.

 Too high may indicate that your baby features a fever or is in distress.

 Too low may mean that there’s oxygen deprivation thanks to a variety of reasons, including the baby’s position or the cord becoming compressed.

The monitors are going to be used to tell when your baby is experiencing distress, in relation to each contraction. For example:

 Throughout the contraction

 Recovering within the break periods

 Only at the end of the contraction

 Both during and after contractions

Each timing may mean something slightly different and should involve a variety of attempts to fix the difficulty.

While FHR monitoring has many benefits, a misinterpretation of the FHR monitoring results can increase the likelihood of getting an LSCS

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