Two main types of electronic fetal monitoring

  • External Electronic Fetal Monitoring: External electronic fetal monitoring is performed using a special set of electrodes that are attached to the outside of your abdomen. These electrodes, called transducers, are two special electronic disks. They help to receive and record baby’s heartbeat and your contractions. These two electrodes are attached to a stretchy band that is placed around your abdomen. They are then connected to a machine beside you, which displays information about your baby’s heartbeat and your contractions in graph form. Most women find that an external electronic fetal monitor is completely painless, though you may find it uncomfortable to be tethered to a machine for long periods of time. New technology has now allowed for portable electronic fetal monitoring, which uses a radio-transmitter attached to your ankle. This allows you to walk around during labor, while still monitoring baby’s heartbeat and your contractions.
  • Internal Electronic Fetal Monitoring: Sometimes, electronic fetal monitoring is performed internally. An electrode is passed through your cervix and attached directly to baby. This electrode, called a scalp electrode, looks much like a tiny spring, and is attached to the very top of baby’s head. This transmits information about your baby’s heartbeat to a monitor beside you. Internal electronic fetal monitoring is very accurate, however, it can only be performed if your water has broken and if your cervix is partially dilated. Some women choose not to have internal electronic fetal monitoring because it does carry some risk of infection.


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Table of Contents
1. Checking the Heartbeat
2. How to use a doppler
3. Tips to hear baby's heart
4. Monitoring baby during labor
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