Monitoring Fetal Heart Rate to Prevent Birth Disorders

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Monitoring Fetal Heart Rate to Prevent Birth Disorders
Monitoring Fetal Heart Rate to Prevent Birth Disorders

Parents want to know what the normal fetal heart rate is. The fetal heart rate tends to be faster than the adult heart rate and can change throughout the stages of pregnancy

When you are about 5 or 6 weeks pregnant, your baby's heart will likely start beating at 80–85 beats per minute (bpm). Around the 9th week, the average fetal heart rate hovers around 175 bpm.

Monitoring Fetal Heart Rate to Prevent Birth Disorders - Alodokter

In mid-pregnancy, the fetal heart rate slows down to 120–180 bpm. The fetal heart rate will also slow down in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, although it is still twice as fast as the normal adult heart rate.

The Importance of Monitoring the Fetal Heart Rate

Fetal heart rate needs to be monitored, especially during labor and shortly after the baby is born using special equipment. The goal is to help detect changes in heart rate patterns during the labor process.

A pattern of a heartbeat that is too fast or too slow indicates a possible problem with the fetus, such as a lack of oxygen.

When there is a change in heart rate pattern, several steps can be taken to anticipate or overcome the source of the problem, as well as determine the best delivery method for the fetus and pregnant woman.

Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring Method

Based on the equipment used, there are two ways that can be done to monitor the fetal heart rate, namely:


The first way to monitor the fetal heart rate is by auscultation method, which is using a special stethoscope. This method is fairly safe because it has minimal risks or side effects.

By relying on a special stethoscope, doctors can hear problems related to the fetal heartbeat. With this method, you can hear several things related to the heart, such as how the fetal heart sounds, how often it beats, and how hard it beats.

Electronic monitoring

The second way to monitor the fetal heart rate is with an electronic monitor. This tool will be used during pregnancy until the birth of the baby. In addition to monitoring the fetal heart rate, this tool is also useful for determining the strength and duration of uterine contractions.

There are two ways to use electronic monitoring tools, namely external monitoring and internal monitoring.

External monitoring is performed using a Doppler ultrasound to check whether the fetal heart rate is too fast or too slow.

If needed, the doctor can also perform a test using a sensor belt to count the number of times the fetal heart rate accelerates over 20 minutes.

When the mother is about to give birth, doctors can also use a tool called a cardiotocography (CTG) to determine the fetal heart rate and the mother's uterine contraction pattern.

Meanwhile, internal monitoring is monitoring that can only be done if the amniotic sac has ruptured.

Internal monitoring is done by inserting a sensor cable into the uterus through the vagina. This cable will later be attached to the fetal head to measure its heart rate.

After installation, monitoring will be carried out continuously. However, this method is not yet available in Indonesia.

The pattern of abnormal fetal heart rate does not mean that the prospective baby has certain he alth problems. Doctors need observations from various other tests to confirm the condition of the fetus.

If the doctor manages to find a he alth problem, the next step is to find the cause. If the disturbance cannot be resolved and can interfere with the birth of the baby, usually the baby will be delivered by caesarean section, vacuum extraction, or forceps.

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