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    Monitor your Baby

    The midwife will monitor your baby’s heartbeat throughout your labour. 

    The midwife is watching for any changes in the heartbeat that may suggest your baby is becoming distressed or tired. The simplest method of monitoring is by using a pinard stethoscope. This is a trumpet-shaped stethoscope that helps the midwife to hear your baby’s heartbeat through your tummy.

    A doppler is a small hand-held ultrasound machine that looks like a microphone. It is placed on your tummy and allows you, your birth partner and midwife to listen to the baby’s heartbeat.

    If there are any concerns about your baby’s heartbeat or if your pregnancy or labour falls into a ‘high risk’ category, continuous monitoring is recommended. This is done using a CTG machine. Two pads are placed on your tummy: one records the contractions and the other records the baby’s heartbeat. Sometimes it can be difficult to get a good printout of the heartbeat this way.

    The midwife might suggest putting a ‘clip’ on your baby’s head to improve the recording of your baby’s heartbeat. This involves securing a thin curved wire to the skin of your baby’s scalp during a vaginal examination. Some women are concerned that they can’t move around if they are attached to the CTG machine.

    The midwife will help you to find comfortable upright positions and there are pictures on the delivery room walls suggesting positions that you might find comfortable.

    in Labour and Birth