Fetal Heart Rate

Fetal Heart Rate is an important indicator for the condition of the fetus inside the mother’s womb.


Fetal Heart Rate monitoring helps the health care professional to observe the fetal heart beat inside the uterus of the mother and during labor. The course of action is done using a monitor on outer surface of the body or an external monitor and inside the uterus or an internal monitor.

How is External Fetal Monitoring Performed?

This procedure is done by placing the fetal monitor to the skin of the mother. It is considered to be a non invasive method of getting the Fetal Heart Rate. The pregnant mother will be placed on a dorsal recumbent position which is illustrated by lying on her back that is partly elevated and bending her knees with a pad beneath the right part of the hip, enables the uterus to move on the left portion.

Perceptive electrodes that are connected to the monitor are positioned on the pregnant mother’s abdomen on top of the appropriate conducting jelly. The receptive electrodes are able to sense the heart rate of the fetus and the occurrence and length of uterine contractions. Typically, the test results are continuously printed out or they can become visible on the computer monitor. Nevertheless, this method can’t tell the strength of the contractions.

This method enables the health care professional to monitor the pattern of the baby’s health and the capacity of the fetus on enduring the contractions. External Monitoring is done first before proceeding to an internal monitoring.

What is a Non-Stress Test?

The Non-Stress Test is type of an external monitoring to obtain the Fetal Heart Rate of the baby. It can be performed as early as the pregnancy has reached its 27th week. It gauges the heart rate of the fetus accelerations with regular movements. For this assessment, the position executed with it is same with the simple external monitoring mentioned above.

The same monitor brought up earlier are placed above the abdomen to gauge the pattern of the fetal heart rate and if the uterus contracts efficiently. The patient will be provided a small meal or a drink to stimulate the activity of the fetus if there is no evident FHR reactivity subsequent to 30 to 40 minutes. The absence of the FHR reactivity is indicated through an increase in the fetal heart rate greater than the baseline of fetal movement. Other methods that may encourage movement of the fetus include the utilization of an acoustic stimulation by conveying resonance to the fetus.

What is a Contraction Heart Stress Test?

The Heart Stress Test is a concluding technique of external monitoring of the Fetal Heart Rate. This test gauges the capability of the placenta to supply adequate oxygen to the baby during contractions or pressures. The position for this test is same with the other types of external monitoring.

Same as the other monitors, it is also positioned above the abdomen to measure contractions of the uterus and the Fetal Heart Rate. If contractions are not taking place spontaneously, it is either a medication called oxytocin will be administered intravenously or nipple stimulation will be performed to stimulate contractions. It is entitled as Oxytocin Challenge test if oxytocin is given to the patient. The medication is administered continuously via intravenous line in anticipation of three uterine contractions are detected that lasts for 40 to 60 seconds during a 10 minute period.

What is an Internal Fetal Monitoring?

This method involves the positioning of the electrode through the fetal scalp passing the cervix. This means is utilized to monitor the fetus if the external fetal monitor is not that efficient or if the information is not that reliable.

An examination of the vagina will be executed and the electrode is introduced by its plastic covering in the vagina. This synthetic sheath is advanced into the cervix and positions on the scalp of the fetus and then taken out. The wire of the electrode is placed on the thigh and fastened to the monitor.

How the Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring will feel?

The external monitoring will entail the patient to be on a permanent position during the entire procedure. This situation can make the patient uncomfortable. During this case, the health care professional can aid on the repositioning the pregnant woman to a more comfortable position. The conducting jelly might give the mother a cold feeling. An internal monitor can deliver feelings of mild discomfort during the insertion of the electrode into the cervix.

Why is Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring Performed?

Both different test types are executed to assess the Fetal Heart Rate and the inconsistency between betas particularly in accordance with contractions of the uterus. These tests indicate as well the strength and frequency of uterine contractions. These information are essential to determine the abilities of the fetus to tolerate the birthing process and if emergency interventions are necessary.

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