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Nowadays an unexpected fetal death is extremely rare, because of advances in monitoring during pregnancy and labor. If a fetus develops problems in the last trimester, it nearly always becomes less active or stops moving. If your previously active fetus becomes calm and you don't count at least 10 movements in an hour, see your doctor. The baby may be fine, but your doctor will want to be sure.
Cord wrapped around neck
Usually this is no cause for alarm, but the newborn may need to be checked carefully by a pediatrician soon after delivery.
In the rare event that the umbilical cord descends out of the birth canal before the baby, the child's oxygen supply is endangered, as the cord can press against the bony ring of the pelvis. Since a prolapsed cord can be life-threatening to the baby, this is considered an emergency situation. An immediate C-section is almost always required.
A vacuum has a soft plastic or metal suction cup that's placed on the skull. The cup exerts a gentle pull to ease the baby out. There is a risk of tears or bruising during extraction.
Forceps are a curved metal instrument that cradles the sides of the baby's head. They allow a doctor to carefully pull the baby out. Studies show that this use of forceps was associated with more complications for both mother and baby
An episiotomy is a cut that's made to enlarge the perineum (the area between the thighs, the vagina, and the rectum) that's made from the bottom of the vaginal opening down toward the rectum.
Signaled by alterations in the fetal heart rate (as revealed by fetal monitoring), this means the baby does not appear to be getting enough oxygen. Sometimes it's hard to be certain of a cause for fetal distress, and false alarms may occur. Even so, most doctors prefer to err on the side of caution and conduct an emergency C-section.
Failure to progress
Sometimes active labor stalls. The cervix dilates slowly and weakly, or only to a certain point, where it plateaus for 2 or more hours (even though contractions continue). Several nonmedical measures may be tried to spur progress. If the measures fail to produce productive contractions, Pitocin is administered through an IV As a last resort, a C-section will be recommended.
Efforts will be made to jump-start labor if a baby is overdue. To induce labor, small doses of the drug Pitocin are given intravenously (This is informally known as a pit drip.) Pitocin simulates the natural function of oxytocin to bring on contractions.