Internal fetal monitoring is commonly used in laboring women, however it is not used as commonly used as external electronic fetal monitoring. Internal fetal monitoring comes with benefits and risks, however, expectant mothers should educate themselves on the benefits and risks prior to labor to ensure they are able to make an informed decision regarding their care.
What is internal fetal monitoring?
Internal fetal monitoring involves placing monitors internally within the mother’s uterus. These monitors give readings similar to the external fetal monitors. One monitor records contraction strengths and frequencies, while the second monitor records the baby’s heart rate.
How is internal fetal monitoring performed?
Internal fetal monitoring is more invasive than external fetal monitoring as the monitors must be placed internally. One monitor, shaped much like a catheter, is inserted into the uterus against the uterus to monitor contraction strength and frequency. Not all physicians use the monitor that records contractions. A second monitor that records the baby’s heart rate has an end similar to that of a small metallic spring, and is “screwed” into the baby’s scalp. In order for internal monitors to be placed, the bag of waters must be broken. If they have not been broken, they will be broken during the placement of the internal fetal monitors.
What are some reasons internal fetal monitoring may be needed?
Internal fetal monitoring may be chosen when external fetal monitoring provides less than reassuring readings, or when external monitoring proves too be too difficult, such as the straps continuously falling or becoming displaced and giving inaccurate readings.
What are the advantages internal fetal monitoring?
Internal fetal monitoring may provide more accurate readings than external fetal monitoring. Internal fetal monitoring is also easier to keep in place, sparing the woman and her caregivers the hassle of having to constantly readjust and place monitors that slip and slide off.
Internal fetal monitoring requires the rupture of the membranes which may help speed labor progression.
What are the disadvantages of internal fetal monitoring?
Internal fetal monitoring requires the woman’s membranes be ruptured. If the membranes are ruptured too soon the baby may suffer from fetal distress, and the mother is at an increased chance of developing an infection . This risk of infection increases with the number of vaginal exams. The mother may also be pressured into a cesarean once her membranes have been ruptured for a certain amount of time (usually 24 hours).
“Internal Fetal Monitoring.” Empowering Each Woman Giving Birth Naturally. Web. 25 Sept. 2010.
“Fetal Monitoring.” Babies at Sutter Health; Pregnancy, Labor & Delivery in Northern California. Web. 25 Sept. 2010.
Johnson, Robert V. Mayo Clinic Complete Book of Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year. New York: W. Morrow and, 1994. Print.Book