The well-being of the baby in term of pregnancy and in labor

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Philippe Gloaguen
@philippegloaguen
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Heart monitoring of the newborn

There are hospital procedures that women undergo in labor that they often know nothing, or little about, and that are not even explained. Today I would like to talk about just this, gods methods used to check that the child is well in the last weeks of pregnancy and during labor.





First of all, let's try to understand together what is being checked to be able to say that the child is fine or not. The only non-invasive parameter that we can monitor to understand if the baby is well is his heartbeat. We are going to interpret, through monitoring heart rate, those that can be both signals of well-being and instead of signals that something is wrong.

Read also: Monitoring or cardiotocography

A baby's heart rate during pregnancy is normally higher than ours and hovers between 120 and 160 beats per minute. As long as it remains within these limits we can rest assured, the baby is fine. As with all adults, too, if we move, are tired or do any other activity, our heart rate changes. The same thing happens to the baby in the belly, and this variability is another of the parameters that allow us to say that he is fine.



But how is the fetus's heartbeat monitored at the end of pregnancy?

When we get close to the term of pregnancy we go to the hospital for the so-called "term control". Here the first monitoring. That is, they will make you lie down and two ultrasound probes will be placed on your stomach. One at the top, at the bottom of the uterus, to see if there are any contractions that tell us that labor is about to begin. The other probe will be placed over your baby's heart, depending on where it is. Through the ultrasounds these probes will detect the parameters we have said before and will report them on the paper track. Everything will last about 20-30 minutes. Once they have assessed that everything is going well, they will let you go home.



And in labor, does anything change in monitoring?

In this case it depends a lot on both the type of pregnancy and the type of labor. I want to explain myself better, if for some reason the pregnancy is not physiological (for example for gestosis or gestational diabetes) then the monitoring will be performed with the same method of pregnancy e it will last all the time of labor until the baby is born. Equally if the labor does not arise spontaneously but comes induced monitoring will be continuous. It is a method that can prevent free movement a little, but it is essential that the child's well-being is monitored continuously.

15 PHOTOS

The fetus in the nine months of pregnancy

Photos of the fetus during the nine months of pregnancy

If, on the other hand, the pregnancy is physiological and labor arises spontaneously, continuous monitoring is not necessary, the obstetrician who will follow you in labor will intermittently detect the baby's heartbeat with a portable probe, basically every 15-20 minutes.

What are the reasons why the heart rate may increase or decrease?

Normally the baby's heart rate decreases a little during contractions of laborThis is because the contraction of the muscles causes a reduction in the supply of blood (and therefore oxygen) through the placenta. Once the contraction is over, the heartbeat returns to normal levels. If, on the other hand, it should remain constantly low or there is a rapid climb it means that there is something wrong. That is, the blood does not reach the child well, who therefore enters the so-called state fetal suffering.

What can be done if the heart rate is not good?

The first thing the midwife will make you do is try to change position, in order to promote blood circulation and therefore the arrival of oxygen to the baby. If that's not enough the doctor will be called, who will decide how long to give (depending on the evaluation of the path in which the heartbeat is detected) before intervening with a emergency cesarean. It seemed useful to explain to you why and what importance this procedure for monitoring the baby's heartbeat has.

However, I want to give you some advice on how to deal with the situation in case something goes wrong. I realize the difficulty in staying calm when you perceive something wrong, but asking a thousand questions to the operators often leads you to increase the anxiety even more. This is because they, focused on what to do, sometimes don't even answer. Calmly ask what happens and then trust them, they are birth specialists and will do what is best for you and your baby.

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