Fetal death after maternal death

  1. How long does it take for a fetus to die after the mother dies?
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  2. 32 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    Please forgive me if I'm wrong, but if this is a situation that is close to you, you need to ask the MD involved. It would depend greatly on how the mother died. Please take care.
  4. by   WorkofHeart8
    No no, this is just pure curiosity - no personal experience, thankfully. Thanks for responding.
  5. by   nj1grlcrus
    Is the mom on life support?
  6. by   babynurselsa
    It would not be very long once heart rate and respirations cease. Once these are even compromised so is the oxygenation and blood flow to the placenta.
  7. by   WorkofHeart8
    nj1 - The question wasn't about a certain person, just a general question. Would it just take a couple minutes after the heart stops? Just wondering if there was a pregnant woman in a hospital and she dies, do they try to save the baby?
  8. by   pfitz1079
    Fetal death could well precede maternal death, particularly if the maternal death was not sudden. Hence the reason almost all perimortem c-sections are not successful.

    Pete Fitzpatrick
    RN, CFRN, EMT-P
    Writing from the Ninth Circle
  9. by   nurse_nan
    Brain death occurs in 4-6 minutes after oxygen is withheld. Baby may well suffer many complications if mom is hypoxic, hypovolemic, or otherwise compromised in the minutes or hours preceding actual death so may not be so viable if a sudden c/s attempt is made to save him/her.
  10. by   EDValerieRN
    We'll do a crash c-section in trauma if mom has been coding for less than 15 minutes. The outcome usually depends on if effective CPR was delivered quickly, and usually our trauma codes are volume depleted to the point of no circulation. I've seen two crash c-sections on a coding mother where the baby lived, the mother survived neither time. One, the mother was on the way to the hospital for contractions and wrecked on the freeway... so sad.
  11. by   traumaRUs
    I had an expectant mother throw a PE and came in full arrest. We did a crash c-section for 26 week twins - no one survived.

    However, weirdest case was a lady who was in her 40's, very obese who's spouse said she was full term. The doctor could feel "something" and thought it was a gravid uterus so we (ER MD and ER surgeon) did crash c-section and voila - out popped intestines but no baby. The family was stunned because everyone swore that she had said that she was expecting.
  12. by   RainDreamer
    We had a baby in our NICU a while back that survived his mother's death. She was a trauma (from a car wreck), brought into the ED coding, and they crash sectioned the baby. He was in the NICU for a bit as he was premature and suffered perinatal asphyxia, but went home a healthy baby. A very bittersweet case.
  13. by   ElvishDNP
    We have had several very close calls on both maternal & fetal sides. But the one case I know about since I've been working where I am, nobody survived.

    Mom was 16 yo at 39 weeks & was hit head-on by a drunk driver who crossed the double-yellow line. Mom comes in as an OB trauma & the OB resident as well as trauma surgeon crash-sectioned her in the ER. She didn't survive. Baby's Apgars were 0-1-1 & survived for a day or so in NICU but eventually died. Very sad for everybody. I remember the resident being really torn up about that one.
  14. by   crissrn27
    we had a 33 weeker come in ER with cpr in progress, she had probably been down over an hour and u/s showed no FHT but the OB crash sect. her anyway. Needless to say neither survived. Turns out she had a PE and had prob. been down awhile before EMS got there and no family members started CPR or anything. I asked the OB after this how long the baby had after mother codes and he said around 5 min.

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