Health Watch — New Lives: Fetal Monitoring

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about pregnancy, from fertility to childbirth. New technology makes it possible to monitor a fetus through the childbirth process, but is that of any benefit?

Researchers at UT Southwestern recently determined that one kind of monitoring didn’t do much good. Doctors may resort to a Caesarian delivery if there’s something abnormal about the fetal heartbeat. A new device to measure the amount of oxygen in the fetus’s blood was meant to help doctors determine which cases really needed Caesarean delivery, but the study found that having this information made no difference in how doctors handled the delivery or in the condition of the child. Dr. Steven Bloom, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern, says this result will keep women from being exposed to technology and equipment that doesn’t seem to provide much benefit.


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February 2007

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