What Is Fetal Metabolic Acidosis?

In order to develop properly, the fetus must exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with mom. Oxygen travels through the mother’s heart, lungs, uterus, and placenta finally making its way through the umbilical cord and into the fetus. When the mom exhales, she is releasing carbon dioxide, including what the baby is releasing. Interruption at any point along this pathway can cause fetal hypoxia. Hypoxia can lead to metabolic acidosis in the fetus, a process by which the blood becomes abnormally acidic. This is called acidemia.

Fetal distress happens during pregnancy, labor, or delivery when oxygen is depleted, and carbon dioxide accumulates.  It is critical that your doctor test for signs of fetal distress. Some signs of fetal distress are abnormalities seen on fetal monitoring and non-stress tests. If the fetus has hypoxia or acidosis your baby needs to be resuscitated and may need to be delivered immediately, depending on the situation. Resuscitation may include giving the mom oxygen and change her position. The failure to treat metabolic acidosis in a fetus can be caused by medical malpractice. If metabolic acidosis is not corrected and treated, this can result in death of the baby, cerebral palsy, HIE, brain damage, developmental delays, and seizure disorders such as epilepsy.

If you feel you and your baby are the victim of medical malpractice, please contact Ms. Wan or Ms. Thomas at Thomas & Wan, LLP and we will help answer all your questions. Let us help you; we fight for you and your baby.

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