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Fetal Monitor

  • The internal fetal monitor is more accurate than the external monitor as it does not rely on ultrasound. It can provide continuous monitoring for the high risk mother. In order to use this type of monitoring the mother's water must be broken and she must be dilated between 2-3 centimeters. This monitor relies on an electrode being placed just below the skin on the scalp of the baby during labor. When a baby is born that has received internal monitoring there is usually a small cut on the scalp where the electrode was placed. This is commonly referred to as a "stork bite." It heals with little effort in a few days. It's a very small price to pay for the added benefit of knowing exactly how your little one was fairing during a long or particularly hard labor.

  • Telemetry monitoring is the newest type of monitoring available. This device uses radio waves from a transmitter on the mother's thigh to transmit the baby's heartbeats to the nurses' station. Mothers can maintain mobility and have the benefit of constant monitoring. This technology may not be available at all hospitals. If this sounds like the type of monitoring that you would prefer, make sure to check to see if it's available at your hospital before delivery.

The type of fetal monitoring you receive will depend greatly on your choice of labor management. If you are high risk, are induced or choose an epidural you will likely need continuous monitoring. Study the different types of monitoring and talk with your doctor or midwife. Be aware of what's going on with the standards of monitoring in the medical community in your area.

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