Fetal injury prior to labor: does it happen?

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986 Jun;154(6):1187-93. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(86)90697-6.


Major advances have been made in the identification and prevention of perinatal factors that lead to long-term handicap or neurologic deficits. When the infant or child exhibits a major handicap, scrutiny of the pregnancy management often occurs in an attempt to define the causal factors. The medical goal of this inquiry is to prevent injuries and, when possible, to eliminate these factors. In the litigious sense, any deviation from optimal, ideal care or any unusual observations, such as unusual or atypical fetal heart rate patterns, are often causally linked to the adverse outcome. There are at least four categories of major fetal injury that probably occur prior to labor. An awareness of, and a diligent search for, details will no doubt clarify the legitimate origins of many so-called birth injuries. Hence the common tendency to fixate on minor deviations and/or deficiencies of labor and delivery management as causing catastrophic injuries will be successfully challenged.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Fetal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Fetal Heart / physiopathology
  • Fetal Monitoring*
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Meconium
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Perinatology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / physiopathology