Advances in Electronic Fetal Monitoring
For almost fifty years, electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) during labor has gained in both acceptance and use. Today, nearly 75% of the over 4 million births employ fetal monitoring in the intrapartum period. Most fetal heart rate (FHR) monitoring is done with ultrasound (Doppler) transducers that pick up fetal heart rates by employing high frequency sound waves to track and measure fetal heart rate. Additionally, caregivers employ contraction measuring devices known as toco transducers (Toco) to approximately measure uterine activity (UA), commonly known as contractions, in both frequency and duration. Toco is an external pressure sensing device that requires palpation to compliment the action of a contraction depressing a sensor on the device. Finally, maternal heart rate (MHR) is the third and final metric and is easily tracked externally, with attention to major variations.
Both ultrasound Doppler and Toco are external forms of measure and can involve nursing attention and varying degrees of discomfort for the patient. In some cases, caregivers remain at the bedside as they attempt to track fetal heart rates by repositioning the ultrasound transducer. The Toco, while only picking up frequency and duration of contractions (not intensity) requires that the patient wear a tight and cumbersome belt. Women complain of being “tethered” to a monitor. These issues are exacerbated in high BMI patient groups, leading to constant repositioning, spotty data and patient complaints.
In more challenging cases, physicians will deploy internal measuring methods such as intrauterine pressure catheters (IUPC) and fetal scalp electrodes. The former, a sensitive catheter placed within the uterus measures frequency, duration, and intensity of the contractions; while the latter is a wire electrode placed directly into the fetal scalp. Both are invasive, require physician intervention for placement, and carry risk of infection.
OBMedical has developed the LaborView Wireless Electrode System. FDA-cleared LaborView, a major advancement in external fetal monitoring, features a wireless electrode array that captures maternal and fetal heart rate plus contraction data during labor for a wide range of BMI classifications¹. The LaborView electrode array and transmitter are placed on the maternal abdomen and the system is light and easy-to-wear while walking, moving or turning.
LaborView is compatible with existing bedside electronic fetal monitors and it features low cost single-use disposable electrode arrays so hospitals may avoid delays caused by capital equipment budgeting constraints.
External sensors interface with existing bedside monitors and archiving systems
Easy to apply
No need to continuously reposition the electrodes
Lightweight and comfortable for moms
Effective in high BMI patientsˡ
Remains in place during epidural
Mother can walk and move freely throughout the room