Quick Survey: Electronic Fetal Monitoring
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Electronic Fetal Monitoring

The electronic fetal monitor (EFM) tracks the baby's heartbeat and records the pressure of the uterus during labour contractions. Introduced in the 1970's, EFM was first used only for high risk pregnancies. Before proper studies were completed, EFM became routine in most Canadian and American hospitals. Eighty percent of women having babies are now hooked up to an EFM.

What Is EFM

The external EFM consists of two straps which go around your abdomen. One strap holds a pressure gauge to record contractions, and the other strap an ultrasound transmitter to detect the baby's heartbeat. This information provides a continuous printed record of heartbeat and contractions.

With the internal fetal monitor, an electrode is inserted into the baby's scalp and linked to a recording device by a wire inserted though the mother's vagina.

The baby's heart rate usually speeds up during contractions. A heart rate which slows down during or after contractions may mean that the baby is having some difficulty.

Is It Useful?

Other Disadvantages

Other Options

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