Fetal Monitoring

Close up of fetal monitor display with out-of-focus belly in foreground.

Fetal monitoring before labor

If there is any concern for the well being of your baby(babies), your doctor may refer you to fetal monitoring where we will monitor your baby's heartbeat and other vital signs. Reasons are varied but could include:

  • A high-risk pregnancy or medical condition
  • Complications with a previous pregnancy
  • A period of decreased fetal movement
  • After you are injured or fall during pregnancy
  • An overdue pregnancy (41- 42 weeks gestation)

Non-stress test (NST)

The most common fetal monitoring procedure before labor is called the non-stress test or NST. The purpose of the NST is to confirm that your baby is healthy. It is based on the principle that the heart rate of healthy babies will periodically rise.

During a non-stress test, monitors will be strapped to your pregnant abdomen. You will not be given any medication to stimulate or cause movement of the baby or contractions of the uterus – that’s why it’s called a “non-stress test.” Your health care provider doesn’t do anything to stress the baby during the test. There is no pain involved or risk to your baby or pregnancy.

Fetal monitoring during labor and childbirth

When it is time to deliver your baby, we are equipped with wireless fetal monitors to track your baby's heartbeat as well as your contractions. Using an electronic fetal monitor is the best method of monitoring your baby during labor.

Use may be constant or intermittent

During labor, some patients prefer to wear a monitor minimally. Other patients appreciate the biofeedback and constant assurance of baby's healthy heartbeat. While the health and well being of your baby comes first, we will try to accommodate your wishes.