Fetal heart monitoring keeps track of the heart rate of your unborn baby (fetus). It also shows how long and how strong your contractions are. It is done during pregnancy, labour, and delivery.
This technique helps your doctor see if your unborn baby is healthy or is having any problems. It may help your doctor find the best way to deliver your baby.
The monitoring can be external or internal. External monitoring can be done anytime after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Internal monitoring is done only during labour.
In most cases, you will lie on a table on your back or left side.
The sensors or the wire and tube connect to a recording device. This device can show or print out a record of your baby's heart rate and how long and strong your contractions are.
The doctor will watch your baby's heart rate and how it responds to your contractions.
The doctor will keep track of your baby's heart rate during labour and delivery. This helps your doctor get a sense of how the baby is doing. It helps the doctor know if there is a problem that needs to be fixed. And it helps the doctor know when it is time to deliver the baby.
If there is an abnormal result, your doctor will try to find out why. You may have more tests. Your baby may be under stress. Your doctor may have to deliver your baby as soon as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: November 21, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC, FACOG - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology
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