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Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring
Reasons for Test
What to Expect
Prior to Test
- Discuss with your doctor how the fetus will be monitored (external or internal) and how often (continuous or occasionally).
Work with your doctor and labor support partner to come up with a birth plan. This plan will help you to think about:
- What you would like to happen
- How you can adjust if a complication occurs during labor and delivery
Description of the Test
- The doctor places gel on your abdomen. Two belts are placed around your abdomen. One is to monitor your baby’s heartbeat, and the other is to measure the quality of your contractions. Your baby's heart rate is displayed on a screen and printed on special paper.
- The doctor uses a fetoscope (similar to a stethoscope) to listen to the baby's heart rate.
|External Fetal Monitoring|
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How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Call Your Doctor
American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org/For%5FPatients
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
Antepartum Fetal Surveillance. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Practice Bulletin No. 9 . October 1999 (Reaffirmed 2009).
External and internal heart rate monitoring of the fetus. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test%5Fprocedures/gynecology/external%5Fand%5Finternal%5Fheart%5Frate%5Fmonitoring%5Fof%5Fthe%5Ffetus%5F92,P07776/. Accessed December 20, 2012.
Fetal heart rate monitoring during labor. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq015.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20121220T0954532535. Accessed December 20, 2012.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014
- Update Date: 05/28/2014