Tests to determine the wellbeing of your fetus

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 baby-womb-doppler This is a simple test using the Doppler to listen to the baby’s heart beat which is normally between 120 to 160 beats per minute. This seems to be the range that the normal, healthy fetus prefers to keep itself well-supplied with oxygen and nutrients
 baby-womb-ctg The Cardio-tocograph (CTG) machine gives a print out of the fetal heart rate and beat-to-beat variability. This is more accurate than the Doppler to determine the baby’s condition. Normally monitored for 30 minutes.
 baby-womb-ultrasound Using an ultrasound scanner, the obstetrician can locate the placenta to see if there is any problem. The latest 3D and 4D scanners may be able to show clearer images of the baby such as the umbilical cord to detect any problems

As mentioned above the baby’s normal heart beat is 120 – 160 beats per minute (bpm). At term the normal heart beat can be 110 bpm.

Slow heart beat is called bradycardia.

Mild bradycardia (to 80 or 90 bpm) with good beat-to-beat variability is common during the second stage of labour and not of great concern so long as delivery occurs relatively soon. Moderate to severe bradycardia (below 80 bpm) with loss of beat-to-beat variability, may indicate fetal distress, requiring prompt action by the obstetrician.

If the above tests are normal and you are still concerned, your obstetrician may recommend that you keep a record of your baby’s movements using a baby kick chart. There are all kinds of charts available which are sometimes quite confusing to use. I think you just need your diary. Mark the time you start counting on the specific date in your diary. Let’s say you decide to start at 9 a.m., you will need to count your baby’s movements until 9 p.m. Mark a tick each time you feel your baby move. Sometimes he may move 3 times in 10 minutes or nothing for a couple of hours. Once your baby has moved more than 10 times within the 12 hour period; you can stop counting. If within this 12 hour period the number of counts is less than 10 please check with your obstetrician immediately.

Note: Please do not count hiccoughs.

Just in case some of you still feel the need for a chart, here is one courtesy of www.PregnancyAndBaby.com.

Fetal Kick Count Chart
Fetal Kick Count Chart

Depending on where you are in the world and your obstetrician’s views you may or may not be advised to keep a kick count chart. Most believe that it is unnecessary to keep a chart unless you have a high risk pregnancy or there is cause to believe that baby needs to be monitored. I agree with this trend of thought. However, to end this subject I strongly recommend that you listen to your ‘intuition’. You are the one who is most closely connected to your baby and if for no known reason you feel very strongly that something is not right with your baby, do seek a second opinion.

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