When a woman goes into labor, it is very important to ensure that her health as well as that of the baby stays as good as possible. Sometimes during a long labor, the health of either the mother or the baby will start to waiver.
In order to ensure that this is caught as soon as possible hospitals routinely hook the laboring mothers up to a fetal heart monitor and a uterine contraction monitor.
First, a fetal heart monitor will ensure that the heart rate of the baby remains stable and is closely monitored during the labor. The uterine contraction monitor helps doctors determine exactly how strong contractions are, and how far apart they are.
The uterine contraction monitor can also provide a basis for the labor coach to help the mother through breathing exercises as they see a contraction coming across on the monitor.
Continuous Monitoring Helps Catch Problems
As you can imagine being continuously hooked up to, a uterine contraction monitor can really help doctors determine if a problem is looming in the near future. Sometimes a result on the uterine contraction monitor coupled with a slowed or reduced heartbeat can spur the decision to have an emergency c-section if it is in the best interests of the mother.
Additionally, monitoring the contractions and the heart rate can also lead many doctors to allow labor to progress on its own naturally.
While it is possible for medical intervention to occur much faster with the use of monitors, it is also possible for labor to progress naturally much longer than it might otherwise occur.
If a doctor notices that a mother has been in labor for 24 hours but the contractions are still strong, and the babies heart beat is still strong they are more likely to allow labor to progress on its own than years ago when the heartbeat and contractions could not be monitored.
The use of uterine contraction monitors is generally only used in hospitals and is not a monitoring process that midwives use. If you are considering a home birth, then you will not usually be able to use uterine contraction monitors, nor will you be able to monitor the heart rate of the baby quite as easily, this is one of the biggest considerations people have when they are trying to decide whether or not to have a home birth.
As you can imagine the use of uterine contraction monitors has greatly improved the health of many babies as they are born, however it does not guarantee that all babies will be born without any problems. By using the best technology available then you are able to continuously ensure during the labor and delivery that you know how your baby is able to handle the stress of delivery.
While most doctors prefer the use of the uterine contraction monitors, you do have the right to avoid the use of the monitors; however, you must let your doctor know if you do not plan on using the monitor.
If you do not want to use the monitor, you need to ensure that your doctor knows ahead of time, and also ensure that you tell the hospital staff when you check in. Most parents do agree however, that using the uterine contraction monitor in conjunction with the fetal heart monitor is a preferred option but the choices are up to each set of parents.