New Guidelines for Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring
New guidelines were released by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists regarding fetal heart rate monitoring. Practice Bulletin #106, which outlines the guidelines, is published in the July 2009 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The most commonly used method for monitoring the heart rate of the fetus during birth is electronic fetal monitoring. A fetal heart rate monitor is used to track the status of the fetal heart rate during labor and intervene if necessary. An abnormal heart rate may signal a potential problem with the fetus during delivery, including the risk of a baby being born with cerebral palsy.
One notable update in the guidelines for fetal heart rate tracings, print-outs of the fetal heart rate. Category 1 tracings are considered normal and no specific action is required. Category 2 tracings are considered indeterminate and require further evaluation. Category 3 tracings are considered abnormal and require prompt evaluation. The guidelines also state that women in labor who have high-risk conditions such as preeclampsia, type 1 diabetes, or suspected fetal growth restriction should be monitored continuously during labor.
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