Know Stress

An Overview of Fetal Distress

Fetal distress is a disorder that affects the fetus or the unborn child in a pregnant woman. It is not a very common condition. It can take place before or during the process of labor. The condition is characterized mainly by the low levels of oxygen or abnormal heart rate pattern of the fetus.

During labor, the heartbeat of the fetus is monitored constantly for irregularities. In case the doctor detects a significant irregularity in the heartbeat, an attempt is made to correct the situation by providing oxygen to the mother and increasing intravenous fluids.    

If this disorder is not properly cured, it can lead to fetal damage or stillbirth.

Other symptoms of fetal distress are
Reduced fetus movement as observed by the mother
Presence of meconium, a dark green fecal material, in the amniotic fluid
Sudden change in fetal heart rate during or after a contraction
Increase or decrease in the fetal heart rate 
Presence of lactic acid or lactate in fetal blood, which indicates lactic acidosis

Some of the causes of distress experienced by the fetus are:
1. If a mother has breathing problem the fetus may show signs of fetal distress
2. Fetus is either in an abnormal position or is in an abnormal presentation
3. Shoulder dystocia a problem that takes place during actual delivery can also cause fetal distress
4. Nuchal cord is a condition that occurs when the umbilical cord is wrapped around the neck of the fetus. This can cause fetal distress

If the steps taken to remove distress in the fetus do not yield the desired results, then an immediate delivery by Caesarean section is advised.