The electronic fetal heart monitor is a tool that is used during labor and delivery to assess a baby’s well-being during a vaginal delivery. Many hospitals across the United States use this monitor to help them during labor and delivery. The fetal heart monitor can assess things like the baby’s heart rate, acceleration and deceleration patterns, variability, among other things. In this short talk we are going to discuss early decelerations, late decelerations, and HIE. In addition, we will discuss what these two types of deceleration patterns look like, and what they can mean.
The first type of deceleration pattern we will discuss is an early deceleration pattern. An early deceleration pattern has a decrease in the fetal heart rate with the contraction. An easy way to understand an early deceleration is that it will mirror the contraction. The onset of the early deceleration occurs before the peak of the contraction. This is important to note. The recovery of the baseline heart rate occurs by the end of the contraction. Medical literature suggests that early deceleration patterns are benign findings and suggest that doctors and nurses continue to monitor the fetal heart rate patterns.
The second type of deceleration pattern we will discuss is a late deceleration pattern. With a late deceleration pattern a decrease in the fetal heart rate happens with the contractions but the onset occurs with or after the peak of the contraction. Recovery of the baseline heart rate happens after the contractions ends. This pattern can also be repetitive in nature. Late deceleration patterns can be problematic and dangerous because they can suggest uteroplacental blood flow problems and oxygen delivery issues. Late decelerations require intervention on the part of the doctors and nurses.
HIE or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a medical condition which can occur when there are problems with blood and oxygen in the baby, which can contribute to a brain injury.
It is our hope that you now have a better understanding of early decelerations, late decelerations, and HIE.
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