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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.
Last Revised: November 2, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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