Utilized approximately 3.2 million times in 2003 accounting for 85% of all live births and is the most common obstetrical procedure performed in the U.S.
Efficacy is controversial and may be responsible for the detecting nonreassuring fetal heart rates and may contribute the escalating Cesarean rate.
Heart rate monitoring during labor attempts to identify fetal oxygen deprivation and related acidosis that results from it anaerobic metabolism in its early stages, allowing medical staff to intervene before hypoxic brain injury occurs.
Certain fetal cardiac rhythms during labor, especially tachycardia, bradycardia, and transient decrease in pulse rate are associated with neonatal depression and central nervous system injury.
Electronic fetal monitoring uses either Doppler wave technology or a contact electrode apply to the fetal scalp to generate a continuous visual recording of fetal heart rate.
Fetal acidosis is associated both with heart rate abnormalities and with a diminished moment to moment fluctuations in rate.