Some women hate the thought of having to be attached to a fetal monitor when they are in labor. While this is a pretty common reaction, it is important to understand the very important reason for the monitoring. Keeping a watchful eye on the fetal heart rate can help the doctors and nurses ensure that the fetus isn’t going into distress.

Fetal distress is a very big problem for a woman in labor because it means that the baby isn’t getting the necessary oxygen. This is why some medical professionals will give the laboring woman oxygen through a mask if the baby’s heart rate tanks. Sometimes, the woman will be instructed to change positions just in case the baby is putting pressure on the umbilical cord.

It is often difficult for medical professionals to ascertain the cause of the fetal distress. What is important is that steps are taken to help the baby’s heart rate come back to a normal level. When normal methods don’t work, a C-section might be necessary. If the woman’s cervix is fully dilated, forceps or a vacuum extractor might be used to get the baby out.

If the baby isn’t delivered and distress continues, there a chance that the baby will die or be born with severe brain injuries. These can prove devastating. If your baby suffered negative effects because of untreated fetal distress, you might opt to seek compensation for those effects. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit isn’t something that is easy. You should learn about the process and what options you have to make your claim.

Source: Merck Manuals, “Fetal Distress,” Julie S. Moldenhauer, accessed Feb. 03, 2017