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Electronic Monitoring of Fetal Heart Rate May Reduce Infant Death Rates

Researchers have studied the effect of electronic monitoring on infant
mortality, but the studies have included so few participants that the
outcome was negligible. In an attempt to make a clear connection between
reduced risk of infant death and electronic heart rate monitoring prior
to birth, researchers gathered nearly two million birth records
collected in the 2004 National Birth Cohort.

The researchers involved in the study aimed to give doctors sufficient proof that electronic heart rate monitoring is an important part of reducing infant mortality. Birth and death records were pulled from the 2004 National Birth Cohort. Doctors and researchers scoured through the information to connect the dots between electronic fetal monitoring and reduced risk of infant death.

The study results revealed that nearly 90% of infants received electronic heart rate monitoring in 2004. Those infants had a significantly lower risk of infant mortality when compared with the 10% of fetuses that were not monitored. Furthermore, low-risk pregnancies resulted in infants being born with high APGAR scores. High-risk pregnancies showed a reduced instance of infant seizures after birth when electronic heart rate monitoring was used.

The final outcome – infants receiving electronic heart rate monitoring during labor have a reduced risk of mortality by 50% over infants not monitored. These results were delivered at The Pregnancy Meeting, an annual event held by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Source: Vicki Bendure. Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. 14 February, 2011.

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