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Publicity will highlight problem of obstetric fistula

  • Andrew Cole
BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2006


FAQ015 -- Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring During Labor What is fetal heart rate monitoring? Fetal heart rate monitoring is the process of checking the condition of your baby during labor and delivery by monitoring his or her heart rate with special equipment. Why is fetal heart rate monitoring done during labor and delivery? Fetal heart rate monitoring may help detect changes in the normal heart rate pattern during labor. If certain changes are detected, steps can be taken to help treat the underlying problem. Fetal heart rate monitoring also can help prevent treatments that are not needed. A normal fetal heart rate can reassure both you and your health care provider that it is safe to continue labor if no other problems are present. What are the types of monitoring? There are two methods of fetal heart rate monitoring in labor. Auscultation is a method of periodically listening to the fetal heartbeat. Electronic fetal monitoring is a procedure in which instruments are used to continuously record the heartbeat of the fetus and the contractions of the mother’s uterus during labor. The method that is used depends on your health care provider’s or hospital’s policy, your risk of problems, and how your labor is going. If you do not have any complications or risk factors for problems during labor, either method is acceptable. How is auscultation performed? Auscultation is done with either a special stethoscope or a device called a Doppler transducer. When the transducer is pressed against your abdomen, you can hear your baby’s heartbeat. When auscultation is used, your health care provider will check the heart rate of the baby at set times during labor. If you have risk factors for problems during labor or if problems appear during labor, the fetal heart rate will be checked and recorded more frequently. How is electronic fetal monitoring performed? Electronic fetal monitoring uses special equipment to measure the response of the baby’s heart rate to contractions of the uteru

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