Effects of Fetal Distress on the Baby

Fetal distress is a common problem among expectant women and can affect the health of your unborn baby in many ways. Long-term oxygen deprivation during labour and delivery can cause cerebral palsy, brain damage, or even stillbirth. Your provider should make reasonable efforts to deliver your baby safely if it is in distress. Let’s learn more about the effects of fetal distress to the baby.


1. Brain injuries


A newborn may experience a brain injury during delivery in infrequent circumstances. The kid may sustain brain damage if they don’t receive enough oxygen for prolonged labour (perinatal asphyxia). Although cerebral palsy is a form of brain damage, only a tiny proportion of cases are encountered during delivery.


2. Scalp bruising and swelling


Fetal distress causes bruising and swelling. Your infant’s head or face may occasionally have minor, transient injuries after birth. These include lumps brought on by fluid beneath the skin or bleeding under its skin.


3. Brain bleeding


Rarely, after birth, a baby may experience bleeding in or near the brain. However, most infants with bleeding don’t exhibit any symptoms, which is particularly typical in very premature infants. Others might struggle to eat, be lethargic, or even experience convulsions. 


4. Nerve injury


During childbirth, nerves can be injured, especially those in the baby’s face (which can result in facial paralysis) and arm (which can result in brachial palsy, which causes a lack of arm mobility). A newborn’s nerve injury is typically only transient. 


What causes fetal distress 


With the information above, you might wonder what the common causes of fetal distress are. If so, don’t worry. Below you will get enough information about what causes such a frustrating situation.

· Malpresentation

A baby is typically in the vertex (cephalic) position before delivery. The infant is born head-first when in the vertex position, with its head at the bottom of the abdomen. Before delivery, some newborns present differently. In these situations, aberrant presentations may put the infant at risk of encountering issues with the umbilical cord and traumatic birth.


· Placental abruption

Premature placental separation from the uterine wall results in placental abruption. Although it can happen as early as 20 weeks gestation, it usually occurs in the third trimester. About 1% of pregnancies result in placental abruption. The infant may stop getting enough oxygen if this happens. 


· Umbilical cord issues 

The umbilical cord is the only supply of nutrition and oxygen for the unborn child, and it also serves a crucial role in eliminating fetal waste. It connects a woman to her unborn child. Serious harm to the baby could come from complications with the umbilical cord. This is especially possible when doctors neglect to properly monitor and care for fetuses. 


· Birth injuries and uterine rupture

Uterine rupture happens when pressure causes a rip in the uterus during pregnancy, labour, or delivery. You can have significant bleeding if your uterus ruptures throughout part or all of its layers, jeopardizing the fetus’ oxygen supply. When it’s time to deliver, uterine rupture frequently leads the baby to shift into the abdomen. 



Fetal distress is dangerous and should be handled immediately after noticing potential signs. The case can severely affect the mother, but the newborn can be affected significantly. Above is vital information about the condition that you should know.