Fetal Monitoring and Cerebral Palsy

During the process of labor and delivery, it is essential that the attending medical professionals monitor the mother and her baby, in order to ensure that they remain in a safe and healthy state throughout the entire process. As it relates to the baby, this fetal monitoring provides those attending the delivering mother with vital information about the baby’s heart rate and the mother’s contractions.

Kinds of Fetal Monitoring

Over the years, medical researchers have identified a number of situations which may result in a baby’s heart rate spiking above the generally accepted 110 to 160 bpm during the birthing process. Physicians, and other medical professionals assisting a woman in giving birth, use fetal monitoring methods to monitor for signs of fetal distress which could push the baby’s heart rate above this accepted limit.

The two most common ways medical professionals monitor an unborn baby’s heartbeat include:

External Monitoring – External monitoring is conducted by fitting the mother with a special belt while she is in the birthing process. This specialized medical instrument can both detect the mother’s contractions, and her unborn baby’s heartbeat.

Internal Monitoring – Internal monitoring is conducted when doctors place a device on a baby’s head while it is still in the birth canal. This device allows doctors to accurately monitor the baby’s heart rate.

Fetal Monitoring Errors

While fetal monitoring is a standard, and very important, part of the birthing process, sometimes medical professionals make mistakes while monitoring, or neglect to do it altogether. These errors can result in serious damage to the baby.

Some of the more common fetal monitoring errors include:

  • Failure to perform fetal monitoring altogether
  • Faulty equipment resulting in inaccurate data
  • Failure to recognize symptoms of fetal distress
  • Failure to take appropriate actions to remediate symptoms of fetal distress
  • Failure to correctly operate fetal monitoring equipment

Effects of Fetal Monitoring Errors

The potential negative health effects resulting from fetal monitoring errors include:

  • Neurological damage
  • Physiological damage, such as cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delays
  • Paralysis
  • Death

Fetal Monitoring Errors and Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is often caused by medical mistakes which occur as a mother is giving birth. In cases in which a baby, while being born, show signs of fetal distress, it is incredibly important that the medical professionals who are delivering the baby take immediate and appropriate action.

If fetal distress is not immediately corrected, the baby could suffer from permanent injuries, including cerebral palsy. One National Institutes of Health report suggested that the complete elimination of fetal distress could lead to a 15% reduction of the prevalence of cerebral palsy.

Compensation for Cerebral Palsy Caused by Medical Malpractice

Caring for a disabled child can pose a significant financial burden to any family. If your child is suffering from cerebral palsy, or any other serious medical condition caused by the negligence of medical personnel, a hospital, or medical device manufacturer, you may be entitled to significant compensation.

Contact a birth injury attorney today to discuss the circumstances surrounding your pregnancy and birth, and to learn your legal options.