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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Fetal heart monitoring
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Fetal heart monitoring measures a baby's (fetus's) heart rate during pregnancy or labor and delivery. These measurements can help health professionals check a fetus's general condition and identify early signs of distress.
During labor and delivery, the fetal heart rate is closely watched along with the mother's uterine contractions (using a tocometer). This helps the doctor or nurse see how the baby is responding and whether any treatments, such as the use of medicines, are needed to help speed up delivery.
Two types of monitoring—external or internal—can be done.
Current as of: June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology & Femi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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