The Importance of Monitoring Fetal Heart Rate During Labor

Even the most skilled and experienced medical professionals can’t predict every problem that may occur during childbirth. There are, however, certain precautions that every doctor, midwife, or nurse should take when a patient is in labor, including monitoring a child’s heart rate. Failing to do so can have devastating consequences, including serious birth injuries. For help determining whether your own child’s birth injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, consider reaching out to a dedicated Miami birth injury lawyer today. 

What Does Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring Entail?

As its name suggests, fetal heart rate monitoring is the process of checking on a baby’s heart rate during pregnancy, labor, and delivery to make sure that the child is receiving enough oxygen. This can be done in one of two ways. External fetal heart rate monitors, for instance, are a type of special stethoscope that doctors can use in the early stages of pregnancy to monitor a child’s heart rate. These monitors are made up of sensors and elastic bands that are placed around the mother’s abdomen. The heart rate signals are then printed on a record known as a fetal heart rate monitoring strip. The other way to monitor a baby’s heart rate is to use internal fetal heart rate monitors, which are placed inside a woman’s birth canal, next to the baby. The wire electrode on the monitor makes contact with the baby’s skin and is also connected to a fetal heart rate monitor that the doctor can read. 

Indications of Distress

Whichever form of fetal heart rate monitoring a doctor uses, the goal is the same: to identify any abnormalities in the heart rate that could indicate distress, or a lack of oxygen from compression of the umbilical cord. Drops in the heart rate, which are known as decelerations, are an especially clear sign that a baby is in distress. Through proper monitoring, doctors can detect whether a child can tolerate vaginal delivery or needs to be delivered via a cesarean section. Failing to monitor or correctly read a fetal heart monitor could result in serious complications, including hypoxic brain damage, cerebral palsy, fetal asphyxia, and nerve damage. A child could also suffer from cognitive impairments or developmental delays, blindness, or even paralysis. Devastatingly, a child could end up losing his or her life as a result of a doctor’s negligence if the lack of oxygen isn’t identified and addressed quickly enough. 

Reach Out to Our Experienced Miami Birth Injury Lawyers for Help

If your child suffered a birth injury because of a doctor’s mistake, you may be feeling not only frightened for your child’s health, but also unsure of what to do next. Call our dedicated team of Miami birth injury lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP to set up an initial consultation. We are available to address your legal questions and concerns 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so don’t hesitate to call us at 305-371-2692 or to contact us online today.