During pregnancy and delivery, electronic fetal heart monitoring is used to track the baby’s heart strength and heart rate. It is also used to keep track of the duration of your contractions. The baby’s heart rate is a good indicator of how well your baby is doing or if there are problems. Your Columbus OBGYN will use the electronic fetal heart monitoring as a tool to make sure your baby is ok.
There are two types of fetal heart monitoring that can be done:
Doctors can listen to your baby’s heartbeat with a special stethoscope or with two flat sensors that are held in place using elastic bands. One of these sensors uses ultrasound to track the heart rate, while the other measures the duration of the contractions you are having. A machine that is connected to the sensors records all of the information that is gathered. Your baby’s heartbeat may be printed on a chart or heard as a beep. The duration and frequency of contractions will be printed on the chart.
After your cervix is at least two centimeters dilated and the amniotic sac is ruptured, internal heart monitoring can be done. Internal monitoring will be done continuously once it is started. A sensor is attached with a strap to your thigh. You will have a thin wire, which is attached to the sensor, inserted through your cervix and vagina directly into your uterus. The electrode will be attached to the baby’s scalp. The internal monitoring doesn’t reflect sound waves. The heartbeat will either be printed on a chart or be heard as a beeping sound. There is also a small tube that can be placed next to the baby on the uterus that will indicate the timing and strength of contractions. These will be printed on a chart.
Fetal heart monitoring is done for many reasons. It keeps track of the baby’s heart rate and measures the duration, strength and frequency of contractions. You can determine if you are having preterm labor and check on the health of the baby if a problem is suspected. Internal fetal heart monitoring measures the strength and duration of contractions and indicates if labor stress is a threat to your baby.
You should ask you Columbus OBGYN about fetal heart monitoring if your baby is not growing normally and if any health issues are suspected.