NJ Fetal Distress Lawyers

Symptoms of Fetal Distress

Doctors can determine certain aspects of an adult’s level of stress based on his or her heart rate. During pregnancy and labor, a fetus’ heart rate can also indicate if the baby is under “stress” or not, reacting healthily to the labor or delivery events (such as contractions, cord compression, etc.).

Adequate prenatal fetal movement is one sign indicative of a healthy baby; a lack of movement can be a sign that one’s baby may be in “distress” or not reacting well during the pregnancy (fetal distress). Doctors, nurses and midwives can determine if a baby is in fetal distress by examining and appreciating the significance of changes in the fetal heart rate patterns, both prenatally, and during labor. During labor, fetal distress may also occur in the presence of meconium (or fecal material from fetal bowel movement) in the amniotic fluid. If the distress is severe enough, a lack of adequate oxygen supply to the brain can occur (hypoxia), which can result in brain injury or other serious conditions which become apparent after birth.

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Fetal distress may require that the baby be delivered by a timely Caesarean Section delivery (C-section). Under New Jersey law, hospital staff must be able to perform a c-section within 30 minutes of the decision to do one (30 minutes from “decision to incision.”)


Various conditions have been known to cause or contribute to fetal distress. These include but are not limited to:

  • Placental abruption
  • Hyperstimulation of the Uterus (seen in labors induced with Pitocin)
  • Uterine rupture
  • Infections
  • Maternal condition (high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, etc.)
  • Umbilical cord entrapment or compression

The treatment of fetal distress may require anything from repositioning of the mother during labor, to the administration of oxygen, to timely forceps, vacuum or C-section deliveries. However, if doctors, nurses or midwives do not act in an appropriate and timely manner, or fail to take action entirely, an asphyxial birth injury may result, causing permanent conditions such as cerebral palsy.

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If your baby suffered fetal distress which resulted in a birth injury, the skilled New Jersey birth injury lawyers at Blume Forte can help you seek compensation from those who are responsible for causing the harm. With many years of experience in this highly specialized field of medical negligence law, our firm and our attorneys have the knowledge and resources needed to successfully pursue fetal distress birth injury claims. Contact one of our attorneys at 973-845-4421 for a no-cost consultation, and find out more about how we can assist you and your family.