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When something goes wrong during childbirth

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2022 | Birth Injuries, Blog

No expectant parent in Illinois thinks their baby is going to suffer complications. Unfortunately, birth injuries can occur and leave a child suffering for the short- or long-term.

What is a birth injury?

Often, a birth injury involves a type of physical trauma that can affect the head, neck or shoulders. There might be bruising or a broken bone. The injuries can occur as the baby travels out of the mother’s birth canal or due to the doctor using assistive methods like forceps or vacuum extraction.

The worst type of childbirth complication is fetal distress, which can pose serious risks to the baby.

What is fetal distress?

Fetal distress is an emergency medical situation that results in a fetus not getting enough oxygen. Also known as hypoxia, this condition usually occurs when labor begins or during delivery. If a baby is not delivered timely and the mother’s labor is overly long, it can result in insufficient levels of oxygen and fetal distress.

The following include signs of fetal distress:

  • Fetal tachycardia is characterized by an abnormally fast heart rate in the baby such as up to 180 beats per minute
  • Fetal bradycardia is characterized by an abnormally slow heart rate in the baby such as less than 110 beats per minute
  • Variable decelerations are sudden declines in the baby’s heart rate such as 15 beats per minute that last more than 15 seconds
  • Late decelerations are heartbeats that occur during the mother’s labor or when the mother’s blood pressure is too low, which results in too little blood flow to the baby and can lead to the blood becoming too acidic

If the mother suffers from preeclampsia during her pregnancy, it can also lead to fetal distress. Fetal distress is also common in pregnancies lasting over 42 weeks.