fetal distress

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nonreassuring fetal status

abnormal fetal heart rate or rhythm on electronic monitoring, suggesting fetal ischemia.
Synonym(s): fetal distress

fetal distress

a compromised condition of the fetus, usually discovered during labor, characterized by a markedly abnormal rate or rhythm of myocardial contraction. Some patterns, such as late decelerations of the fetal heart rate seen on records of electronic fetal monitoring, are indicative of fetal distress. If possible, the cause of the situation is identified and corrected and the acid-base balance of the fetal blood is tested. Labor is allowed to continue if the pH is within normal range and if the abnormal pattern does not recur or persist. Cesarean section may be necessary if the fetus is markedly alkalotic or acidotic or if the cause of the problem cannot be corrected. If possible, the condition of the baby is stabilized before delivery by giving the mother oxygen; increased fluids; or a narcotic antagonist, a vasopressor, or an agent to relax the uterus. A pediatrician or neonatologist is required to attend the birth of a distressed baby to manage resuscitation and care immediately after delivery.

fetal distress

A nonspecific clinical diagnosis indicating pathology in the fetus. The distress, which may be due to lack of oxygen, is judged by fetal heart rate or biochemical changes in the amniotic fluid or fetal blood.
See also: distress

fetal distress

Observable changes in the fetus during pregnancy or, more often, labour, caused mainly by an insufficient oxygen supply via the placenta. The signs are a sustained rise in the heart rate to above 160/min, slowing of the fetal heart rate after each contraction of the womb, persistent slowness below 120/min, heart irregularity and contraction of the fetal bowel with the passage into the uterine fluid of greenish stools (meconium). These signs do not necessarily indicate lack of oxygen and fetal distress is difficult to evaluate. Fetal blood sampling, through an ENDOSCOPE, may be more useful.
References in periodicals archive ?
The most detailed letter we have got did admit the half hour of foetal distress.
Her pregnancy progressed until 27 weeks gestation when she required an emergency caesarian due to foetal distress.
The vast majority of transfers are because of slow progress and foetal distress.
Since the monitor reveals foetal distress, Kovac and other doctors encourage Gloria to undergo a Caesarean section, but she refuses.
The raised heart level could have meant foetal distress but it could have been because the mother was in discomfort.
But within two-and-a-half hours the baby's heartbeat had decelerated, indicating possible foetal distress, and Mrs Fisher advised her patient to go to hospital by ambulance.
He ruled that a senior house officer at the scene should have spotted warning signs of foetal distress and informed a registrar.
Heather McComish, a midwife at Antrim Area Hospital, could face charges after an inquest heard how she had twice failed to correctly interpret foetal distress readings.
He told the court there had been a "failure" by medical and midwifery staff to respond adequately, or in time, to signs of foetal distress shown on a monitor.
His family's QC, James Badenoch, told the High Court in London: "During the mother's labour there were clear and obvious signs of foetal distress.
There may be some adverse effects, one of them being the need for assisted delivery with forceps and a C-section for foetal distress.