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Shore Birth Obstetric Specialists

Private Service, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Maternity

Foetal Distress

A foetus is the name given to an unborn baby after the eighth week of pregnancy until birth. Foetal distress is a very general term that is used to describe any unborn baby that is showing signs of agitation, usually during labour and delivery. Signs of distress are usually diagnosed by changes in the speed of the unborn baby’s heartbeat and/or a decrease in the oxygen levels of the baby’s blood.


When foetal distress is present the delivery is expedited either by the use of forceps or ventouse (suction) if the cervix is fully dilated, or by caesarean section if the cervix is not fully dilated or the foetus is malpositioned.

This page was last updated at 3:05PM on July 5, 2021.