When you entrust your prenatal care to an obstetrician, you can expect that he or she has had all necessary training and education to provide proper care and support throughout your pregnancy as well as during labor and delivery. In addition to monitoring your condition, your obstetrician and medical team keep careful track of your baby’s progress in the womb as well. If fetal distress occurs, your OB knows what to do.
As you navigate the approximate nine months of pregnancy, your OB documents your vital signs, weight and other health-related observations. He or she will measure your infant’s head circumference and estimated body length. You’ll also get to hear your baby’s heartbeat and see him or her on a sonogram. There are certain issues, however, that would alert your OB that your baby may be in distress.
Decreased or lack of fetal movement is cause for concern
Once you start to feel your baby kick and move inside the womb, you should begin to feel such movements more often as your pregnancy progresses. While babies tend to move less when they are nearing entrance to the birth canal, you’d want to immediately report lack of fetal movements to your OB and medical team at any time during your approximately 40 weeks of pregnancy.
In addition to lack of fetal movement, if your OB determines that your baby isn’t growing at an average or healthy rate, further medical examination and tests should be done to rule out fetal distress. Macrosomia, on the other hand, is the opposite of absence of continued growth. A sonogram may alert your OB that your baby is too large to fit through the birth canal. This can be a serious complication.
There should be a sufficient amount of amniotic fluid
The average obstetrician understands the importance of monitoring the amount of amniotic fluid during pregnancy. An insufficient amount of fluid can be a sign of a serious, underlying issue, such as fetal kidney defects, your water breaking prior to going into labor and other issues. This condition is known as oligohydramnios.
Polyhydramnios occurs if there is too much amniotic fluid. This can be a sign of maternal diabetes or other concerning issues. If you’re suffering from swelling in your ankles, feet or lower leg area, your doctor can rule out this condition.
Fetal distress symptoms that mimic regular symptoms of pregnancy
If you gain a lot of weight or experience ankle swelling, shortness of breath, heartburn or other pregnancy-related symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean your infant is undergoing fetal distress. However, it also doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she isn’t, which is why it’s important to report symptoms to your OB so that he or she can monitor the situation.
A licensed Delaware obstetrician understands that certain maternal or fetal symptoms warrant an emergency C-section. Sadly, many birth injuries have occurred in the past because of medical negligence. As a pregnant woman, you have the right to reasonably expect your OB and medical team to adhere to all industry regulations and accepted safety standards that are meant to keep you and your baby safe.