Find a Doctor
Browse UPMC doctors and medical professionals to find the care that's right for you. Customize your search by specialty, zip code, last name, and more.
Visit the UPMC Find a Doctor website.
Fetal (FEE-tal) monitoring is a way for your doctor to check the health of your unborn baby. It is used during labor and delivery. Sometimes it may be done at an earlier point in the pregnancy. Monitoring cannot stop a problem from taking place. But it may warn your doctor of possible problems.
There are different types of fetal monitoring. Each method has its own benefits.
Fetal monitoring can help make the birth of your baby as safe as possible. If your doctor decides to use fetal monitoring, do not worry. It does not mean there is a problem, and it will not affect your labor. It is simply one way to let your doctor know how your baby is doing during your labor.
All mothers are monitored for at least a short time when they are first admitted to the hospital. Most mothers will be monitored throughout active labor.
You may be continuously monitored during your labor if:
Most mothers-to-be and their support people find it comforting to be able to see or hear the baby’s heart beat.
The heart beat can be monitored in 2 ways:
Your contractions can be monitored during labor. Knowing when your contractions are taking place can help you to better use your breathing exercises.
Contractions can be monitored in 2 ways:
Internal monitoring of either your baby or your contractions can only be done after your water has broken.
Some hospitals may have a monitoring unit that can move with you. This unit will keep track of your baby’s heart rate and your contractions. It allows you to walk around freely. This method is good for the early stages of labor.
For more information about fetal monitoring, talk to your doctor.