Carrying a baby in your womb for nine months is the most delightful feeling for an expectant mother. Feeling the baby move and kick inside can be very exciting. Needless to say, a mother’s biggest concern is the well being of the baby and her development in the womb.
A very common pregnancy concern is fetal distress also known as baby distress. The baby not doing well inside is enough to create panic among the parents.
What Is Fetal Or Baby Distress?
Fetal distress is the condition when the baby inside the mother’s womb is distressed due to some external or internal causes. A distressed fetus may be the result of lack or hindered oxygen supply to the baby in the uterus, placental abruption, reduced levels of amniotic fluids, cord compression or any illness suffered by the mother.
It is necessary to diagnose the signs of fetal distress soon before things go out of hand. Fetal distress if diagnosed and reported early can be totally harmless and would help your doctor to know the baby’s condition and the decision to initiate the labor process.
Signs Of Fetal Distress
Severe abdominal cramps are generally the first sign of a distressed fetus or a problem developing inside, especially in third trimester.
As an expectant mother you should be cautious if you feel sharp or any abnormal cramp or pain in the stomach. Often abdominal cramps are associated with early and premature labor and your doctor may ask you to report almost immediately.
Amniotic Fluid Leakage
A slow reduction in amniotic fluid levels is often a cause of fetal distress. Amniotic fluid is the protecting fluid layer for the baby to thrive inside. If there is a leakage of amniotic fluid or the sac bursts then there surely is an indication of fetal distress. In this case often an emergency labor is performed to bring the baby out safely.
Vaginal Spotting Or Bleeding
One sign that generates panic during pregnancy is vaginal spotting or fresh bleeding, especially in the last few months of pregnancy.
The reason for the bleeding or spotting is usually a condition called placenta previa where the placenta is low lying and may be detached from the uterine wall causing abruptions and bleeding. Any amount of bleeding should be immediately reported to the doctor, after which you will need to go through a fetal ultrasound to know the well being of the baby.
Reduced Fetal Movements
During the final trimester of pregnancy your doctor will always ask you to keep a tab on baby’s movements inside. The pattern of baby’s movements is generally set and regular at fixed time intervals.
Any change in the pattern or reduced frequency of movements signifies problem. Lack of movements for a long period should be reported instantly. Many medical practitioners ask their patients to record the baby’s kicks every time the movements happen. A reported problem in baby’s movements and you are likely to go through a fetal Non-stress test that would rule out fetal distress by monitoring its activities inside.
Fetal Heart Rate
On every visit to your doctor your baby’s heart rate will be checked through a Doppler machine. A normal fetal heart rate should be anywhere ranging from 120 to 160 beats per minute. A faster than this or extremely slow heart rate spells distress and needs further tests and ultrasounds to detect any underlying problem.