Electronic Fetal Monitoring Leads to Increased C-section Rates!

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Did you know Continuous Fetal Monitoring can increase your risk of C-section? Did you know that you have the options of Intermittent Auscultation if you are low risk mom? Intermittent Auscultation is where your care provider uses a hand held Doppler to listen to the baby’s heart beat for about 60 seconds, every 30 min during the active phase of labour. This is the standard in care midwives routinely use to successfully keep an eye on the baby. It’s important to get the facts on any intervention that could potentially change the course of your labour and delivery in a very significant way. Please check out the link to the Evidence Based Birth site http://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-based-fetal-monitoring/ to learn more about the research behind the increase of C-section when women are using Continuous Fetal Monitoring.

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The evidence against continuous electronic fetal monitoring is so clear that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a recommendation saying that continuous electronic fetal monitoring should NOT be used in low risk women. Even ACOG has endorsed intermittent auscultation as an “appropriate and safe alternative” to electronic fetal monitoring (ACOG, 2009).”

Time and time again I see women being welcomed onto the Labour & Birth unit only to be told to lay down and get strapped to the monitor. Usually when the mom gets to the hospital she is in active labour and if you have been there yourself, you know how much focus it take to move through your contractions at that point in the game. Asking a mom to now lay flat on her back is probably the most painful thing in the world and really works against the natural rhythm of birth not to mention gravity! So once she is on the monitor, her pain and stress levels have increased and of course it’s virtually impossible to stay still which means the monitors slip and are ineffective, increasing the possibility of false readings. Mobility is a key factor for labour to progress on its own and Intermittent Auscultation is a safe and appropriate way to provide safe monitoring. If this simple change can reduce the risk of using Vacuum, Forceps and of course C-section in our low risk or first time moms, which in turn would most likely improve maternal mental health in the postpartum, then it is definitely something we need to be looking into changing right here in Regina!

Personally, I think there is significant room for improvement when it comes to how we treat our birthing mothers here and after watching and hearing stories of woman after woman leaving the hospital with a negative or even traumatic experience all I can tell myself is, “What can I be doing right now to make the positive changes we need a reality?” For me, that comes in the form of working closely with the clients that choose to work with me and have me support them through their birth, positive evidence based info on the FB page so the public has access to more information and general conversation surrounding birth, working with other health care practitioners in our community so that there is a solid base of support for women when they need it and of course, getting organized to present some of the changes that need to happen within our health region, so they are aware that women for one deserve better care but more importantly and more exciting to me is that, the things that need to change are quite practical and relatively simple to accomplish! I don’t think anyone working with birthing women for one second has poor intentions, I think it’s more of a “If you know better, you do better” situation. Or at least that is what I’m going with!

So ladies, just remember that you are a competent expectant mother and you have a voice, and a STRONG one at that! This is your body, your baby and your LIFE we are talking about and the more information you get your hands on during pregnancy means the more options you have during your birth!

If you are currently expecting I wish you a smooth, beautiful and healthy delivery and if you are interested in getting more involved about improving birth here in Regina, feel free to email me with some of your questions and suggestions! I’m all ears 🙂

Sara

Owner- Family First Doula Service

www.familyfirstdoulas.com

info@familyfirstdouals.com