Fetal ECG readings offer no advantage.

Position:Birth Complications - Brief article

A new technology that tracks the electrical activity of the fetal heart offers no advantages over conventional technology in preventing birth complications, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

The technology provides electrocardiogram (ECG) readings of a fetus' heart during the birth process. An ECG records the heart's electrical activity--the signal that spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom, causing it to contract and pump blood. ECGs typically are employed to detect abnormal heart rates, heart attacks, and other heart problems, but they are not commonly used to monitor fetuses. Traditionally, physicians have monitored only the fetal heart rate, the pace at which the heart is beating, during labor.

The new technology is referred to as fetal ST segment analysis, named for the ST interval--the time after a heartbeat, when the heart cannot contract again until the heart cells recover from the electrical impulse that triggered...

To continue reading