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Definition of «Fetal distress»

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Fetal distress: Compromise of the fetus during the antepartum period (before labor) or intrapartum period (birth process). The term "fetal distress" is commonly used to describe fetal hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the fetus). The concern with fetal hypoxia is it may result in fetal damage or death if not reversed or if the fetus is not promptly delivered.

Fetal distress can be detected due to abnormal slowing of labor, the presence of meconium (dark green fecal material from the fetus) or other abnormal substances in the amniotic fluid, or via fetal monitoring with an electronic device showing a fetal scalp pH of less than 7.2.

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