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California OBs and midwives know the signs of fetal distress

When you're pregnant, it's always best to build a strong support network from the start. This, of course, includes a competent, experienced medical team who can provide prenatal care and remain on hand to address any concerns that may arise as you await the birth of your baby.

Whether you are having a child for the first time or have had several others, you will no doubt encounter challenges throughout your pregnancy, including fatigue (especially in the first trimester) weight gain or, perhaps, morning sickness. There are certain issues, however, that should concern your obstetrician or midwife because such issues suggest a higher risk for fetal distress or other problems during labor and delivery.

Monitoring your baby's movements is important

The average obstetrician or midwife understands the importance of tracking your infant's movements in the womb during pregnancy. Once you reach the 28-week mark, you should regularly be feeling your baby's kicks. If you've been down this road before, you already know that these "little" movements can be quite strong.

When you attend prenatal visits, your medical team should always ask you if you have been feeling consistent movement in the womb. This is because decreased or halted movement can be a sign that your child is in distress.

Contractions versus cramping

When you go into labor, your baby will make its way through the birth canal with the help of your uterine contractions. However, there's a difference between contractions and severe cramping.

If you feel cramping at any time during your pregnancy, it is an issue you'll want to immediately report to your medical team. Intense cramps often signal serious complications, such as placental abruption, which can be a life-threatening situation for your infant.

Biophysical profiles are important

As your pregnancy progresses, your medical team will perform biophysical profiles to monitor your baby's condition. In addition to movements in the womb, doctors may be able to perform an ultrasound or other test to monitor your baby's heart rate, as well as to track how many muscle flexions or extensions are within a certain amount of time.

Such tests show that your infant has good muscle tone and a sufficient amount of amniotic fluid, and that no signs of fetal distress are present. When you entrust your and your baby's health and well-being to an obstetrical medical team, you can reasonably expect that each member of the team will provide the highest level of quality care in accordance with California laws and accepted safety standards.

What if that doesn't happen?

Sadly, many birth injuries occur in this state and others due to medical negligence. Such injuries are often preventable but occur when someone in the support network fails to do his or her job right.

If you or your child suffer a birth injury, it may have long-lasting consequences. In fact, such incidents often lead to life-long health problems for mothers and infants. State law allows victims of medical malpractice to seek accountability against those deemed responsible for damages.

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Redwood City, CA 94061

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