Fetal Tachycardia (labor and delivery)

Fetal Tachycardia occurs when there is evidence of a sustained elevation of the fetal heart rate (baseline above 160 BPM) as seen on the Fetal Heart Tracings. A normal baseline fetal heart rate is between 120-160 BPM. Fetal tachycardia commonly occurs in the form of sinus tachycardia, which causes an increased heart rate when the baby breathes. The condition can be a warning sign that a fetus is in distress.

What Causes Fetal Tachycardia?

Fetal tachycardia is sometimes caused by medications administered to the mother, or as a result of an infection. Immature development of the nervous system in a premature baby can also increase the heart rate. Maternal fever, anxiety, and dehydration are also causes of this condition.

How is Fetal Tachycardia Treated?

Fetal tachycardia is often a sign of fetal distress. When the baby enters a state of fetal distress, it is at risk of permanent brain injury. Fetal distress during labor may indicate that an emergency caesarean section is necessary. This procedure can enable the obstetrician to deliver the baby and restore proper oxygen flow to the baby’s brain.

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