Fetal Distress

Posted by e-Medical PPT Sunday, September 5, 2010
Fetal distress is a broad medical term describing signs of illness or abnormal conditions in a fetus. The symptoms often appear during labor, when the fetus experiences extreme stress, but may also be noticeable during pregnancy.The main cause of antepartum fetal distress is uteroplacental insufficiency.Uteroplacental vascular disease, reduced uterine perfusion, fetal sepsis, reduced fetal reserves and cord compression can be involved alone or in combination. Gestational and antepartum factors can modify the fetal response to them.Reduced liquor volume, maternal hypovolaemia and fetal growth restriction are known associations.There are some conditions that may elevate the risk of fetal distress. Women who suffer from weight problems, diabetes, those that use alcohol or drugs, and women carrying multiple babies are all somewhat more likely to have problems with fetal distress. There are several common symptoms of fetal distress.One of the most obvious is a decrease or cessation of fetal movement. Heart rate may decrease or increase if a baby is in fetal distress, particularly during labor contractions.
Antenatal Investigations commonly done to detect fetal distress are
* Non-stress test - monitors fetal heart rate acceleration following fetal movement. Non-reactive result suggests fetal distress requiring further assessment.
* Contraction stress test - measures response of fetal heart rate to spontaneous or nipple/oxytocin-stimulated contraction. Late decelerations suggest fetal distress.

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