Fetal Distress Linked to Cerebral Palsy


Fetal distress is a complication that can arise during pregnancy where the uterine environment becomes a threat to the baby’s health. Generally, fetal distress is signaled by a very high or very low fetal heart rate. If a baby’s oxygen supply is depleted, they may suffer brain damage, which may lead to serious medical conditions such as Cerebral Palsy.

Some cases of Cerebral Palsy could have been prevented with proper monitoring of the fetus and mother. If a healthcare professional neglects to use a fetal heart monitor or the medical staff is not trained to correctly read and interpret the monitor itself, they may be held responsible in the event of birth injuries sustained by the infant.

Signs of Fetal Distress

In cases of fetal distress, it is important that healthcare professionals respond quickly to minimize the distress and reduce the chance of serious injury to the baby. Some signs of fetal distress include:

Drop in the fetus’ heart rate
Significant decrease of the baby’s movement in the uterus
Fetal acidosis – the baby’s bloodstream has too much acid buildup
Presence of meconium, the baby’s first stools, in the amniotic fluid during labor or delivery

Causes of Fetal Distress

Fetal distress may arise as a result of a number of different factors involving both the pregnant mother and the actions of a healthcare professional. Fortunately, many of these dangerous circumstances can be prevented before the infant sustains any sort of birth injury. Some of the most common causes of fetal distress include:

Prolapsed umbilical cord
Umbilical cord wrapped around the neck
Umbilical cord trapped between the cervix and the head of the fetus
Baby in breech position
Abuse of pitocin, used to induce or accelerate labor

Link to Cerebral Palsy

When a fetus does not receive an adequate supply of oxygen for an extended time, they will often suffer some form of brain damage. This can lead to the medical condition known as Cerebral Palsy, an abnormality of motor function caused by brain damage early in a child’s life. Sadly, Cerebral Palsy can be the result of medical negligence during childbirth, especially when a healthcare professional fails to notice signs of fetal distress.