What Are Fetal Monitor Strips?

You may have heard medical professionals mention something called ‘fetal monitor strips’ while you were in the hospital giving birth. While the term may seem obvious and perhaps even minor, the reality is that this very important delivery room technology is crucial when delivering a healthy baby. Knowing what fetal monitor strips are, why they are important and, perhaps most important, why they matter in regards to your child’s Cerebral Palsy is crucial for better understanding if your child’s CP was preventable.

First, what are fetal monitor strips? Standard (external) fetal monitor strips (sometimes described as fetal monitoring strips) are small devices attached to the mother’s stomach/‘baby bump’ that are intended to monitor the child’s heartbeat. The fetal monitor strips do this by using Doppler ultrasound to capture and track the baby’s heart activity. Some versions of fetal monitor strips will also maintain a baseline for comparison in order to allow medical professionals more insight as to the child’s condition. Internal monitor strips can be utilized as well but require the mother to be properly dilated and attach to the child’s head.

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It’s quite obvious and self-evident that being able to track the child’s heartbeat through fetal monitor strips should provide medical professionals a comprehensive advantage while trying to deliver your healthy baby. Unfortunately, history has shown that medical professionals have been quite cavalier with turning off or otherwise ignoring the alerts provided by fetal monitor strips and, as a result, fail to act while a baby is in distress.

When a child’s heart rate increases (tachycardia) or drops (bradycardia), fetal monitor systems will issue alerts. One reason medical professionals will ignore fetal monitor strips is due to other factors that can result in ‘sounds’ or alerts from the machine. Contractions and other internal efforts can trigger signs on the fetal monitor strips that differ from what the professional considers the child’s true state. However, when these increases and decreases are due to crisis in the fetus, including oxygen deprivation or physical trauma occurring, these sounds and alerts can mean all the difference between a healthy child and one who lives with a lifetime of Cerebral Palsy.

If medical staff choose to ignore the alerts coming from a fetal monitor system, or misunderstand the result the strips are tracking, significant harm can take place. This harm manifests itself sometimes in the form of CP and is just one of a variety of different examples of preventable Cerebral Palsy. Failing to recognize the important messages from the fetal monitor system and fetal monitor strips is an instance of medical malpractice that must not only be taken seriously, but also exposed for the sake of your child. A Medical Legal Review that reveals improper use or application of fetal monitor strips may make your child eligible for Lifetime Benefits that will pay for the costs associated with their care, therapy, schooling, housing and more for decades to come.

For more information on fetal monitor strips, including answering your questions surrounding why the alerts were ignored and if your child’s Cerebral Palsy was preventable, contact our offices today by filling out our simple form or calling (800) 462-5772.

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