A uterine contraction during childbirth can be defined as a tightening motion of the uterus as a part of the child birthing process. Contractions can come in multiple types. For example, prior to actual labor a woman may experience contractions called Braxton Hicks. Braxton Hicks contractions are sometimes classified as false labor. Understanding uterine contractions and HIE can be important for families starting the HIE journey.

During labor and delivery doctors and nurses can monitor contraction patterns with the use of the electronic fetal heart monitor. The device is attached to the mother and provides a printout or readings of not only the baby’s heart rate, but also mother’s contractions and their pattern. Contractions play an important role in helping with the delivery of the baby.

Uterine Contractions And HIE

In our context, HIE, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, is a medical condition which consists of a reduced level of blood and oxygen which can lead to a brain injury. Monitoring the contractions and contraction pattern is important during labor and delivery. Doctors and nurses will look at the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next contraction. The documented range of the contractions, for example will be between every two to five minutes.

The medical condition tachysystole is defined as more than five uterine contractions in a 10-minute window, or uterine contractions lasting for more than 2 minutes in duration. Tachysystole can be dangerous because it can impact oxygen and blood flow to the child. The umbilical cord is one of the main areas of concern when mother is having too many contractions in a 10-minute window.

Because HIE is a condition which is created by blood and oxygen issues, tachysystole undiagnosed, and not monitored, can be extremely dangerous. To help treat tachysystole medical professionals can place mom on her left side, give IV fluids, and give oxygen. In addition, discontinuation of Oxytocin may occur if it is currently being provided. Hopefully now you understand the importance of uterine contractions and HIE.   

Thanks for reading, from your friends at HIE Resource Place.