Updated: Apr 25, 2019
Labour can be stressful for you and baby. During each contraction, your baby is tightly squeezed in your womb, which interrupts the blood flow.
Foetal monitoring is important
During labour, your midwife will be tracking your baby's heart rate to see on how is baby doing. This is called foetal monitoring. It's usually done with an electronic heart rate monitor.
When you are in labour, your womb contracts to push your baby along the birth passage. The strong contractions may also impair the blood and oxygen supply to your baby. Thus, monitoring of your baby’s condition is critical during this period. Some babies may not take the stress and your doctor will perform an emergency C-section.
This heart rate machine is called cardiotocography or CTG for short.
Wide, stretchy bands hold two electronic transducers against your bump. One monitors your baby's heartbeat and the other tracks contractions.
You'll hear the galloping sound of baby's heart. Ask your midwife on how the machine works and how it registers a contraction.
Electronic foetal monitoring itself isn't painful. That said, some women find it uncomfortable to have the transducers strapped. That also means that you have to lie in bed.
A healthy baby in mind
It must be borne in mind that these monitoring devices are not invasive and meant to ensure baby is safe and coping. After all, delivery is the most treacherous journey of our lives and this monitoring device is a safety road mark along the journey.