What Causes Fetal Distress | Matzus Law

What causes fetal distress?

It turns out that a human being experiences a stressful state while still in intrauterine development. This is the name of the abnormalities in the fetus from 22 weeks of pregnancy, and they cause developmental disorders, the appearance of hypoxia, deviations from normal heart rate indicators, a decrease in the number of movements.

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Condition classification

They began to study this phenomenon quite recently, although they discovered threatening symptoms of the disease back in 1965. The signs of fetal distress have not yet been precisely differentiated. The only thing that is clearly distinguished is that fetal distress is intrauterine and arising during childbirth.

Classify the state according to the degree of suffering and further deviations in the development of the baby:

What causes fetal distress?
  • stage of compensation - chronic distress during pregnancy, symptoms of which include intrauterine hypoxia, and later reflexive failure and developmental delay;
  • stage of subcompensation - acute hypoxia, assistance must be provided urgently, otherwise there will be a risk of termination of pregnancy;
  • decompensation - a high possibility of a frozen pregnancy.

Distress is diagnosed based on this data.

Factors Affecting Distress

The main prevention of fetal respiratory distress syndrome is regular visits to antenatal clinics, as it can also manifest itself in an absolutely healthy woman.

The following factors contribute to the development of distress:

What causes fetal distress?
  • chronic diseases of pregnant women - diabetes mellitus, rheumatism, pyelonephritis and
    chronic glomerulonephritis, heart disease;
  • being overweight;
  • infectious diseases that she suffers while carrying a baby;
  • violation of the integrity of the placenta;
  • uterine bleeding of various etiologies;
  • anemia;
  • late toxicosis is a state of gestosis.

Antenatal fetal distress is a violation of its condition during the second trimester.

This has a pathological effect on the formation of the baby, causing further delay in physiological development, as the fetus experiences oxygen starvation for a long time.

Danger for future rebenka represent the following pathologies:

  • pathology of the placenta - with its negative changes, the interaction of the mother's body and the fetus is disrupted, which immediately causes a number of physiological disorders;
  • lack of water - in this case there is a risk of infection of the placenta, and then - the unborn baby.

The older a woman is, the more difficult it is for her to endure pregnancy. The number of miscarriages or physiological disorders due to distress in women living in large cities occurs 2 times more often than among those who live in ecologically clean and calm areas.

Signs of distress that the woman herself sees

A pregnant woman is able to recognize the symptoms of distress herself and consult a doctor as soon as she notices adverse changes in her condition. The most revealing test is to analyze the amount of baby movements. From 22 weeks, he should make at least 10 movements from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. - in the future this figure will increase.

The woman counts the movements necessary for the pregnancy calendar and notes this in her diary. By 28 weeks, 10 movements should be performed by the fetus by noon. By the end of the third trimester, the time for intensive movements lengthens again - it is difficult for a child to actively roll over, he has grown too much.

What causes fetal distress?

You can count the tremors lying on your side - this is also a modification of the test. Not only movements should be counted, but also their intensity, how vigorously the child moves.

Attention should be paid not only to decreased, but also to increased activity. It can also be a symptom of incipient distress - during hypoxia, at first the fetus jerks to inconvenience of existence.


If a woman voiced complaints - she has doubts about the normal course of pregnancy - they begin a special examination for accurate diagnosis - confirmation or refutation of fetal distress.

The fetal heartbeat is heard from the 20th week of pregnancy. Physiological norm - from 110 to 170 strokes. Any deviation in one direction or another is an indication for hospitalization.

From the 30th week, the indicators of the biophysical profile are calculated - that is, the points are summed up, with the help of which the data of certain parameters are assessed:

  • respiratory movements;
  • physical activity;
  • uterine tone;
  • fetal tone;
  • reactivity of heartbeats;
  • Amniotic fluid volume.
What causes fetal distress?

To more accurately identify these parameters, an additional ultrasound examination is often prescribed. Doppler imaging may be required - to measure the blood flow velocity in the umbilical arteries of the unborn baby.

The number of uterine contractions and the fetal heart rate are recorded using hardware research - cardiotocography. For 30 minutes the doctor monitors the behavior of the fetus in the uterus, noting how the uterus reacts to fetal activity.

Birth distress

The development of distress during childbirth is caused by the natural physiological contractions of the uterus, if there was a predisposition for this. The fact that the uterus is intensely contracted is the norm, otherwise it is impossible to expel the fetus.

During contractile movements, the vessels are compressed, the blood supply to the fetus is disrupted. Oxygen starvation during normal development of pregnancy is tolerated by the infant's body normally, but in pathological conditions there is a risk of hypoxia.

The following deviations can give rise to distress:

What causes fetal distress?
  • premature labor that began before week 38;
  • weak labor;
  • rapid labor;
  • pelvic pathology - too narrow, history of symphysitis;
  • large fruit;
  • multiple pregnancy;
  • lack of water or polyhydramnios;
  • early effusion of amniotic fluid;
  • placental abruption.

The development of fetal distress that occurs after the onset of labor is a serious problem for obstetricians. If it was possible to predict it at the very beginning - during the first stage of labor, during contractions, then an emergency caesarean section will not allow hypoxia to develop and the child's condition will be quickly stabilized.

If the fetus has already entered the birth canal and is fixed at the exit from the small pelvis, you have to resort to emergency measures that reduce the second stage of labor. Stimulation with medications, perineotomy or vacuum extraction is performed.

Preventing distress

Preventive measures do not give a 100% guarantee for a safe gestation and childbirth. Even when pregnancy is carefully planned, force majeure can lead to distress. It is impossible to protect yourself from injury or avoid contact with carriers of the infection, being in a crowded place, but you must do everything possible to make the body as prepared as possible for the responsible process.

What causes fetal distress?

It is necessary to be examined in advance, to treat, if possible, somatic diseases, to exclude the possibility of recurrence of ailments in the anamnesis, to increase the immune status of the body.

It is necessary to give up bad habits, observe the work and rest regime, eat right, get enough sleep, tune in to an active lifestyle.

You should create such an environment around yourself in advance so that stressful situations do not arise.

And if they do appear, adjusting yourself is all nonsense - and there is nothing more important than the health of the unborn baby. There is no need to artificially expose yourself to inconveniences, and the health of the baby is in danger. Anything that makes a pregnant woman feel bad has a pathological effect on the condition of the fetus.

No distress will develop when a woman is calm and healthy.

Decreased Fetal Oxygenation

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