Fetal distress

Fetal distress

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In medicine (obstetrics), fetal distress is the presence of signs in a pregnant woman—before or during childbirth—that the fetus is not well or is becoming excessively fatigued.

igns and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of "fetal distress" include:
*Decreased movement felt by the mother
*Meconium in the amniotic fluid
*Cardiotocography signs
**increased or decreased fetal heart rate (tachycardia and bradycardia), especially during and after a contraction
**decreased variability in the fetal heart rate
*Biochemical signs, assessed by collecting a small sample of baby's blood from a scalp prick through the open cervix in labour
**fetal acidosis
**elevated fetal blood lactate levels indicating the baby has a lactic acidosis

Some of these signs are more reliable predictors of actual distress than others. For example, cardiocartography can give high false positive rates, even when interpreted by highly experienced medical personnel. Acidosis is a highly reliable predictor, but is not always available. A highly effective method of assessment of distress would be to use fetal heart rate as a first indicator of distress, to be confirmed with a more reliable method of diagnosis before radical treatment is performed.

Causes

There are many causes of fetal distress:
* Breathing problems
* Abnormal position and presentation of the fetus
* Multiple births
* Shoulder dystocia
* Prolapsed umbilical cord
* Nuchal cord
* Placental abruption
* Premature closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus

Treatment

In many situations fetal distress will lead the obstetrician to recommend steps to urgently deliver the baby. This can be done by induction, or in more urgent cases, a caesarean section may be performed.


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  • Fetal distress — Compromise of the fetus during the antepartum period (before labor) or intrapartum period (birth process). The term fetal distress is commonly used to describe fetal hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the fetus). The concern with fetal hypoxia is it… …   Medical dictionary

  • Fetal Distress — Fe|tal Dis|tress* [ fi:tl̩ di strɛs] das; <aus gleichbed. engl. fetal distress, eigtl. »fetale Not«> zusammenfassende Bez. für die Gefährdungen, die dem Fetus bzw. Neugeborenen vor, während u. nach der Geburt drohen (Med.); vgl. ↑Maternal… …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Fetal distress — Fetal di|stress [fi̱tel dißtrạ̈ß; engl. = fetale Not] s; : zusammenfassende Bez. für die Gefährdungen, die dem Fetus bzw. Neugeborenen vor, während und nach der Geburt drohen; vgl. Maternal distress …   Das Wörterbuch medizinischer Fachausdrücke

  • fetal distress — noun an abnormal condition of a fetus; usually discovered during pregnancy and characterized by an abnormal heart rhythm • Syn: ↑foetal distress • Hypernyms: ↑abnormality, ↑abnormalcy …   Useful english dictionary

  • Fetal surgery — Intervention ICD 9 CM 75.36 Fetal surgery is any of a broad range of surgical techniques that are used to treat birth defects in fetuses who are still in the pregnant uterus. Open fetal surgery involves comple …   Wikipedia

  • Fetal echocardiography — provides a valuable means to better understand intrauterine growth and development of the heart and great vessels. The prenatal diagnosis of structural heart disease and the physiologic evaluation of fetal arrhythmias are perhaps the most… …   Wikipedia

  • distress — Mental or physical suffering or anguish. [L. distringo, to draw asunder] fetal d. SYN: nonreassuring fetal status. * * * Dispatch Stent Restenosis Study * * * dis·tress dis tres n pain or suffering affecting the body, a bodily part, or the mind… …   Medical dictionary

  • Maternal Distress — Ma|ter|nal Dis|tress* [mə tə:nl di stres] das; <aus gleichbed. engl. maternal distress, eigtl. »mütterliche Not«> zusammenfassende Bez. für die Gefährdungen, die der Mutter während u. nach einer Geburt drohen (Med.); vgl. ↑Fetal Distress …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Maternal distress — Maternal di|stress [metö̱rnel dißtrạ̈ß; engl. = mütterliche Not] s; : zusammenfassende Bez. für die Gefährdungen, die der Mutter während einer Geburt drohen; vgl. auch Fetal distress …   Das Wörterbuch medizinischer Fachausdrücke

  • foetal distress — noun an abnormal condition of a fetus; usually discovered during pregnancy and characterized by an abnormal heart rhythm • Syn: ↑fetal distress • Hypernyms: ↑abnormality, ↑abnormalcy …   Useful english dictionary

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