Monday, October 15, 2012

Monitoring fetal heart rate during labor - speed up and coping with labor

Fetal heart monitoring in labor: Your baby’s heart will be monitored throughout labor. Your midwife will watch for any marked change in your baby’s heart rate, which could be a sign that the baby is distressed and that something needs to be done to speed up the delivery. There are different ways of monitoring the baby’s heartbeat. If you don’t feel comfortable with one of these, tell your midwife.
Your midwife may listen to your baby’s heart intermittently, but for at least one minute every 15 minutes when you are in established labor, using a hand-held ultrasound monitor (often called a Sonicaid). This method allows you to be free to move around.
Your baby’s heartbeat and your contractions may also be followed electronically through a monitor linked to a machine called a CTG. The monitor will be strapped to your abdomen on a belt.
Alternatively, a clip can be put on your baby’s head to monitor the heart rate. The clip is put on during a vaginal examination and your waters will be broken if they have not already done so. Ask your midwife or doctor to explain why they feel that the clip is necessary for your baby.
Speeding up labor process   
Your labor may be slower than expected if your contractions are not frequent or strong enough or because your baby is in an awkward position.
If this is the case, your doctor or midwife will explain why they think labor should be sped up and may recommend the following techniques to get things moving:
Your waters will be broken (if this has not already happened) during a vaginal examination. This is often enough to get things moving.
If this doesn’t speed up labor, you may be given a drip containing a hormone, which is fed into a vein into your arm to encourage contractions.
You may want some pain relief before the drip is started.
After the drip is attached, your contractions and your baby’s heartbeat will be continuously monitored.
Coping with early stages of labor
You can be up and moving about if you feel like it.
You can drink fluids and may find isotonic drinks (sports drinks) help to keep your energy levels up.
You can also snack, although many women don’t feel very hungry and some feel nauseated.
As the contractions get stronger and more painful, you can try relaxation and breathing exercises. Your birthing partner can help by doing them with you.
Your birthing partner can rub your back to relieve the pain if that helps.

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