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Fetal Monitoring: Intermittent or Continuous? Part One

One of the important questions for doctors and midwives is whether to monitor intermittently or continuously mindful of the goal, which is of course a healthy, happy baby.

This is the first in a series on something that is near and dear to me – the care of moms and babies during labor and delivery. I’ve been delivering babies for over 35 years and I still love it, but I must say it’s always a relief when the baby turns out meeting our goal, which is of course a healthy, happy baby.

The focus in this five-part series is fetal monitoring. I know for many pregnant families monitoring is a mystery. You arrive at the hospital, the nurse straps you down with electronic devices and when we come to the labor room, it may seem the focus is all about the monitor strips. Sometimes, I think moms and dads must wonder if we care more about the monitor than the mother lying in her labor bed.

One of the important questions for doctors and midwives is whether to monitor intermittently or continuously, mindful of the goal, which of course is to have a healthy, happy baby. That’s the reason we use fetal monitoring – doing everything possible to ensure that goal.

First, we must determine the mother’s and baby’s risks when making decisions whether or not to monitor. Said another way, does the mom need continuous fetal monitoring, or can we monitor intermittently?

The mother’s birth history, findings on physical exam as well as known fetal and maternal risk factors play into this, which is the subject of the next installment in this discussion on fetal monitoring.

This is Dr. Jim for Be Healthy! Be Happy! Power your path to happiness subscribe to Be Healthy! Be Happy! News.

The full-length YouTube video on the entire first segment:  Fetal Monitoring: Continuous or Intermittent? can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjcQAk36r2s&feature=youtu.be