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Fetal distress due to severe hypoxia is present. Therefore, you should immediately do the following:
This is an effort to increase the amount of oxygen reaching the fetus while plans to deliver the fetus as soon as possible are put into place:
The value of giving the mother 40% oxygen via a face mask is controversial and probably not helpful.
If the fetal heart rate pattern returns to normal after fetal resuscitation, it is still important to deliver the fetus without delay. This may involve moving the mother to a hospital where a CTG and safe Caesarean section can be performed. It is very important to continue with fetal resuscitation and monitoring of the fetal heart rate during transport.
It is important to always exclude reversible causes of fetal distress like supine hypotension (mother lying on her back) and overstimulation of the uterus with oxytocin.
Prepare for resuscitation of the newborn infant.
Further details of monitoring the fetus in labour and managing a woman with fetal distress can be viewed in both the Maternal Care and Intrapartum Care course books on the open website www.bettercare.co.za.