Fetal Heart Rate:

faster than an adult heart rate, which ranges from 60-100 beats per minute. Changes in the fetal heart rate, which occur with contractions, form a pattern. Baby's heart rate increases with mother's movement and with uterine contractions. Baby's heart rate may drop during a contraction but return to normal immediately following the end of the contraction. A normal fetal heart rate ranges from 110 to 160 beats per minute and can vary within this range. Sometimes mother's position is compressing umbilicus so ask her to change her position and then check fetal heart rate.
Danger Signal:
Changes in Fetal heart rate of 20 beats suggest problem in pregnancy. Baby's heart rate may be below 120 beats per minute. This indicates that baby has a heart disorder or is not getting enough oxygen. Some times baby's heart rate may be above 160 beats per minute. This may be caused by infection or by medications mother is taking or by a possible heart problem in baby, or by prolonged distress to baby.
Neurological damage occurs when the baby's brain is deprived of oxygen. Lack of oxygen to the brain can be recognized by patterns in the baby's heart rate. When the baby's heart rate pattern demonstrates a change other than normal range, it may be necessary for the baby to be born immediately.
Abnormal fetal heart rate pattern can be due to various reasons such as
Umbilical cord which connects baby to mother is being compressed and thus oxygen supply to baby is decreased;
Placental problems caused by high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia);
Infection of the uterus;
Separation of the placenta from the uterine wall;
A uterine rupture.
Abnormal fetal heart rate patterns do not always mean there is a serious problem, nor do they point to the root cause. Other tests will be done to find what is the problem. If the baby's heart rate patterns don't improve, advice for an emergency delivery will be given. Mean while Health Care provider will try to relieve fetal distress by
Given oxygen through a mask
Given intravenous fluids
Given medication to decrease the strength of contractions and relax the uterus
Fetal Heart Rate is monitored within the pregnancy and through out the labor. It can be done externally as well as internally. Talk to Health Provider and choose a monitor.

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