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Fetal distress

Fetal distress
Classification & external resources
ICD-10 O68.
ICD-9 768.2-768.4
DiseasesDB 4882
MeSH D005316

In medicine (obstetrics), fetal distress is the presence of signs in a pregnant woman—before or during childbirth—that the fetus is not well or is becoming excessively fatigued.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of fetal distress include:

  • Decreased movement felt by the mother
  • Meconium in the amniotic fluid
  • Cardiotocography signs
  • Biochemical signs, assessed by collecting a small sample of baby's blood from a scalp prick through the open cervix in labour
    • fetal acidosis
    • elevated fetal blood lactate levels indicating the baby has a lactic acidosis


There are many causes of fetal distress:


In many situations fetal distress will lead the obstetrician to recommend steps to urgently deliver the baby. This can be done by induction, or in more urgent cases, a caesarean section may be performed.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Fetal_distress". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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