The nurse is caring for a client in labor. The external fetal monitor shows a pattern of variable decelerations in fetal heart rate. What should the nurse do first?
A. Change the client’s position.
B. Prepare for emergency cesarean section.
C. Check for placenta previa.
D. Administer oxygen.
Variable decelerations in fetal heart rate are anominous sign, indicating compression of the umbilical cord. Changing the client’s position from supine to side-lying may immediately correct the problem. An emergency cesarean section is necessary only if other measures, such as changing position and amnioinfusion with sterile saline, prove unsuccessful. Administering oxygen may be helpful, but the priority is to change the woman’s position and relieve cord compression.