Fetal Monitoring: Uterine Contractions Measuring Intensity

January 24, 2019

Our goal is to provide a safe path to deliver a healthy and happy baby.

You’ll remember in Uterine Contractions Part One, I discussed contraction intensity. When labor is not progressing satisfactorily, caregivers need a more precise measure of contraction intensity or contraction strength. Contractions need to be strong enough to move the baby down the birth canal at a rate of one centimeter or one half inch an hour during the active phase of labor. The fetal monitor can’t measure strength with accuracy. That’s where the Intrauterine Pressure Catheter or IUPC comes in.

Caregivers thread the tube illustrated above into the vagina, through the cervix and into the uterus between the uterine wall and the baby. Nurses then connect the catheter to a separate monitor, which measures the actual strength of each contraction. If progress is delayed and the contractions are not strong enough, doctors and midwives can order Pitocin to improve intensity.

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The full-length YouTube video on the entire second segment:  Fetal Monitoring: Uterine Contractions can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S4ueUbujok