Oxygen starvation is called hypoxia. If the fetus in the womb for some reason does not receive sufficient oxygen, doctors talk about intrauterine fetal hypoxia.
The causes of intrauterine fetal hypoxia are diverse. This pathology occurs in pregnant women suffering from bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, heart defects, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, as well as smokers. Hypoxia can occur due to severe toxicosis, fetoplacental insufficiency, iron deficiency anemia, intrauterine infection of the fetus with herpes, toxoplasmosis, mycoplasmosis. Hypoxia also develops with hemolytic disease of the fetus, which occurs as a result of Rh-conflict. This happens with multiple pregnancies and polyhydramnios.
It is very important to timely identify intrauterine fetal hypoxia. To do this, a pregnant woman must regularly visit a gynecologist and undergo all the examinations that she prescribes.
Distinguish between chronic and acute fetal hypoxia. In the second case, the fetus may die within a few minutes. This happens when the umbilical cord is entwined, rupture of the uterus, placental abruption. In this case, there is only one way out - an urgent caesarean section with subsequent nursing of the child in the intensive care unit.
Chronic fetal hypoxia is less dangerous. As a rule, it does not lead to the death of the child, but it can disrupt the formation of organs if it occurs before 12 weeks of pregnancy, and at a later date it causes damage to the nervous system, growth retardation, and subsequently makes it difficult to adapt to extrauterine life. Subsequently, such a child may experience neurological disorders, mental retardation.
Oxygen starvation may be indicated not only by a decrease, but also by an increase in fetal activity, but this is a less reliable sign.
One of the first signs of fetal hypoxia is a decrease in its motor activity. Normally, a pregnant woman should feel movement at least 10 times a day, if the child moves less often, this may indicate a lack of oxygen.
The doctor may suspect this disorder by listening to the fetal heartbeat: during hypoxia, its frequency is below normal, and heart sounds become muffled. To clarify the diagnosis, cardiotocography can be prescribed - a special procedure for examining the cardiac activity of the fetus.
A sign of intrauterine oxygen starvation is a two-week developmental delay, detected by ultrasound. In the presence of this pathology, a pregnant woman is hospitalized. If the cause of hypoxia is the mother's illness, first of all it is necessary to treat it, of course, in ways that are not contraindicated during pregnancy.
A woman is prescribed medications that reduce the tone of the uterus, this improves blood circulation in the placenta. They also use drugs that reduce blood clotting inside the vessels, increase the permeability of cells for oxygen, improve metabolism and the state of the nervous system. In the future, a woman is recommended special breathing exercises.
If chronic intrauterine fetal hypoxia persists, despite the measures taken, it is necessary to resort to an emergency caesarean section. Of course, this is only possible for periods longer than 28 weeks.