Fetal Distress

Overview of Fetal Distress

Fetal Distress Meaning in Urdu

یہ بیماری اس بات کی نشاندہی کرتی ہے کہ حاملہ خاتون میں بچے کی افزائش صحت مند طریقے سے نہیں ہو رہی۔ عام طور پر بچے کو جب آکسیجن نہیں پہنچتی تو پھر اس کی افزائش متاثر ہوتی ہے۔ ان خواتین میں بچے کی افزائش صحت مند طریقے سے نہیں ہوتی جو موٹاپے کا شکار ہوتی ہیں، جنہیں ہائی بلڈ پریشر کا سامنا کرنا پڑتا ہے، یا جو خواتین ذیابیطس اور گردوں کی بیماری کا شکار ہوتی ہیں۔ حاملہ خاتون کے پیٹ میں بچے کی دھڑکن کو نوٹ کر کے یہ پتہ چلایا جاتا ہے کہ وہ صحت مند ہے یا نہیں۔

Fetal distress is a spontaneous condition that indicates that the baby is unwell due to a lack of oxygen. Baby distress can happen during pregnancy, but is most likely to happen during delivery.


According to established research on PubMed shows the prevalence of preterm birth due to fetal distress is high in Pakistan with several high-risk factors.

Signs and Symptoms of Fetal Distress

Some alarming signs of fetal distress can be; 

  • Sudden vaginal bleeding 
  • Strong cramping 
  • Overweight or underweight mother during the pregnancy 
  • The baby is not growing properly 
  • Decreased movement of the baby in the womb 

Some mothers have even reported the fetal distress as ‘something does not feel/fit right’. Although the feeling itself is not sufficient enough for a proper diagnosis, you should still get a proper checkup from your doctor. Your doctor may look for the following symptoms; 


Types of Fetal Distress

Causes of Fetal Distress

Fetal distress happens when the baby is not receiving enough oxygen supply through the placenta. This is usually because of the complications of the placenta. Usually in case of fetal distress, placental abruption or placental insufficiency, or cord prolapse. Fetal distress may also happen due to complications with the umbilical cord. 

This can also happen due to sudden complications during the process of delivery. Other times it can be due to strong contractions or contractions that are too close to each other. 

Some factors to consider when diagnosing the cause of fetal distress can be; 

  • The mother is overly obese 
  • There is a rise in blood pressure during pregnancy 
  • The mother or the baby has a chronic disease 
  • The mother has diabetes 
  • The mother has multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, and so on)
  • Not enough amniotic fluid 
  • Baby has fetal growth restriction 

Some other causes that can contribute to fetal distress; 

  • Anaemia 
  • Abnormal positioning of the baby 
  • Dystocia 
  • Forceps 
  • Meconium 
  • Oligohydramnios 
  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension 
  • Uterine rupture
  • Any form of deficiency in the baby or mother 
  • Prolonged or restricted labor 

Risk Factors of Fetal Distress

Certain conditions can put your baby in fetal distress at high risk such as; 

  • Too much or too little amniotic fluid at the start of the pregnancy
  • Uncontrolled diabetes of the mother 
  • Umbilical cord problems 
  • Overdue pregnancy 
  • Sudden injury or accident 
  • Stunt fetal growth at the start 





Monitoring fetal movement and health during different intervals is vital for the mother and baby's health. This is also the key moment where identifying fetal distress can become more likely and can prevent irreversible complications. 

Usually, pregnant women are scheduled for regular ultrasound or monitoring, however, getting fetal heart rate checked at regular intervals is important. In this condition, a doctor will be able to determine the oxygen levels in the baby and take preventive measures before any serious complications arise. 

Another obvious way of diagnosis is less frequent baby movement. If a mother experiences no or less baby movement then it is an obvious sign that the baby is under stress. If the patterns of movements have changed or you experience a lot of movement all of a sudden then that is also a sign for you to consult your doctor immediately. 

Another sign to look for is to observe your amniotic fluid discharge. If the discharge is brown or green then your fetus might be in distress which can be a sign of meconium. 

Treatment of Fetal Distress | When to Consult a Doctor

There are different ways to manage and treat fetal distress. Usually, fetal distress is immediately managed without any expectation of a long-term treatment plan. Your gynecologist is most well-suited for providing immediate treatments.  In case of labor, immediate recovery treatment is provided. 

Fetal Distress when not in Labour 

Based on your situation and how long you're into your pregnancy and trimester your doctor may recommend medicine or any other medical/supplement intervention. If the intervention does not help, then the doctor may push you toward an emergency cesarean for your baby's health. 

Fetal Distress during Labour 

Based on the symptom of your fetus, doctors will intervene with oxygen or intravenous fluids. Oftentimes, changing position can also help with fetal distress. If someone has consistent contractions then, medicine can be given to slow down repetitive contractions. In most cases, fetal distress does mean the baby is born quickly, which is why doctors go for an emergency cesarean.