Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring: Enhance Patient Care and Safety

The science of maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) is ever changing, and with these changes come advances designed to make high-risk pregnancies less risky and more successful for both expectant mothers and their babies. While fetal heart rate monitoring isn’t necessarily new to obstetrics, there is a surprising amount of variation in interpretation of fetal heart rate between providers. This variation can sometimes lead to delay in action, over response to situation with fetal heart rate changes, or other misdiagnosis. Hence, the organizations within the United States and hospitals have pushed for adequate education on this important skill.

What’s The Importance of Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring?

Fetal heart rate monitoring allows maternal-fetal medicine experts and ObGyns to monitor the health of a baby in late stages of pregnancy and during labor, helping to determine conditions in the uterus and how the baby is doing. Fetal heart rate monitoring can be done externally via a Doppler ultrasound device on the mother’s abdomen or internally via an electronic monitor connected directly to the fetus’ scalp.

Fetal heart rate monitoring is performed during nearly every pregnancy to ensure the baby is doing well during pregnancy and labor. Experts like the team at HRPC are particularly supportive of fetal heart rate monitoring because of its importance to monitoring pregnancies in women who have high-risk conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure and other complications of pregnancy.

While almost all pregnancies receive fetal heart rate monitoring, not all of the delivery room staff members are experts in what the monitoring is communicating about the conditions inside the womb. Without the staff’s knowledge of these exams, it can cause unnecessary confusion in the delivery room. Last year, the Perinatal Quality Foundation developed an examination for the credentialing of delivery room staff in fetal heart rate monitoring. This is an important distinction as education may show a desire to learn, but credentialing shows a level of proficiency in reading fetal heart rate monitoring. The credentialing test by the Perinatal Quality Foundation (formed from the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine, the leading organization for high risk obstetrical care in the world) has gone through rigorous analysis and asks clinical questions based upon actual fetal heart rate strips and clinical scenarios. This makes this credentialing test a real world analysis of competency in fetal heart rate interpretation.  HRPC supports this examination and all of our physicians have been credentialed with this examination.  In fact, we are the only group of physicians in Southern Nevada where the entire group has passed.

If you would like to learn more about the High Risk Pregnancy Center’s efforts to have all delivery room staff credentialed in Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring, call the experts at High Risk Pregnancy Center at (702) 382-3200 to schedule your appointment today.