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Home Birth Injury Fetal Intolerance to Labor

Orlando Fetal Intolerance to Labor Attorneys

What Happens When Doctors Don’t Respond to Fetal Distress

Childbirth is a stressful time for parents, but the reward for enduring this process is usually a healthy newborn. Sadly, over 28,000 children (about 7 in 1,000) suffer some type of birth injury each year in the United States. Some of these injuries are caused when "fetal intolerance to labor" (also known as "fetal distress") occurs, and the baby begins to suffer from a lack of oxygen due to a period of decreased blood flow from the mother. Without quick identification and action on the part of the medical team, the baby could suffer permanent brain damage and may even die.

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Diagnosing Fetal Distress

Electronic fetal heart monitors allow medical professionals to evaluate babies during delivery. Doctors use these monitors in order to check the baby’s heart rate for:

  • Tachycardia - when the heart rate is too fast
  • Bradycardia - when the heart rate is too slow
  • Arrhythmia - when the heart rate is irregular

Any of these can indicate fetal intolerance to labor. In addition, doctors will inquire about the amount of movement of the baby in the womb. If the movement has decreased significantly, this can also be a sign of fetal distress.

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pregnant woman at doctor appointment

Increased Risk Factors

Some expectant mothers represent a higher risk for fetal intolerance to labor. In these cases, the doctor should explain the potential for fetal distress to the parents and monitor the baby vigilantly throughout pregnancy. In addition, the medical team should be prepared to act immediately if there are any signs that the baby might be in distress. The risk of fetal distress is increased in cases where:

  • the mother is 35 years old or older
  • the mother has preeclampsia
  • the mother has gestational diabetes or a critical illness
  • the baby is surrounded by too much or too little amniotic fluid
  • there are multiple babies in the womb

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When Fetal Distress Is Discovered

Early detection and proper medical intervention are critical to protecting the health of an unborn child during labor. As soon as a heart rate abnormality is detected, the medical team may take any of the follow steps to assist the baby:

  • Give the mother additional intravenous fluids
  • Reposition the mother
  • Add fluids to the amniotic cavity to try and remove pressure from the umbilical cord
  • Give the mother oxygen to increase the oxygen supply flowing to the baby

If the medical team is unable to relieve the baby’s distress, then the baby must be delivered as soon as possible to reduce the risk of permanent brain damage or death. In most cases, a cesarean section delivery will need to be performed.

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Other Causes of Fetal Distress

In addition to naturally occurring causes of fetal distress, this condition can be caused by a failure on the part of the healthcare provider. For example, if the mother’s medical team fails to intervene during a prolonged labor, the baby may experience low oxygen levels from unceasing contractions and may end up suffering a birth injury.

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To Understand Your Rights, Speak to an Orlando Birth Injury Lawyer

It can be difficult to process the fact that your child was injured as a result of malpractice by trusted medical providers. And, as you try to understand what happened and ask questions of your medical team, you may find that doctors and nurses are no longer willing to speak to you. You may be referred to administrative staff or even insurance personnel.

The team at Faiella & Gulden, P.A., has been helping families just like yours for almost four decades. Call our Orlando birth injury lawyers today at (407) 647-6111 and learn how our family-operated law firm can assist your child. The consultation is free and we work on a contingency basis, so you never need to worry about paying fees or the cost of expenses until we obtain a settlement or a verdict in your favor.

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Additional Information

We require no legal retainer or upfront fees, and you pay nothing unless we prevail. Call us for your free consultation.
(407) 647-6111