Thanks to innovations in technology, antepartum fetal monitors have come a long way since the 1970s.
Today’s equipment is highly valuable in detecting heartbeat irregularities in fetuses in their last trimesters subject to increased risk of stillbirth. Often used in conjunction with real-time ultrasonography and umbilical artery Doppler velocimetry, the monitors can accurately inform on whether intervention is needed to restore a normal heartbeat and/or prevent intrauterine injury or neurological damage.
“In most cases, a normal antepartum fetal test result is highly reassuring, as reflected in the low false-negative rate of antepartum fetal surveillance,” notes a recent bulletin by the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Research. “Theoretic models and large clinical studies suggest initiating antepartum fetal testing no earlier than 32 0/7 weeks of gestation is appropriate for most at-risk patients. However, in pregnancies with multiple or particularly worrisome high-risk conditions (e.g., chronic hypertension with suspected fetal growth restriction), testing might begin at a gestational age when delivery would be considered for perinatal benefit.”
The monitors are typically recommended when the pregnant woman exhibits the following, reports American Family Physician:
- Maternal conditions such as antiphospholipid syndrome; poorly controlled hyperthyroidism; hemoglobinopathies such as hemoglobin SS, SC or S-thalassemia; cyanotic heart disease; systemic lupus erythematosus; chronic renal disease; type 1 diabetes mellitus or hypertensive disorders.
- Pregnancy-related conditions such as pregnancy-induced hypertension; decreased fetal movement; oligohydramnios; polyhydramnios; intrauterine growth restriction; post-term pregnancy; moderate to severe isoimmunization; previous fetal demise or multiple gestation with significant growth discrepancy.
Our Advanced Antepartum Fetal Monitor BT350 offers ease of use and accuracy through its 7-inch TFT color LCD monitor, waterproof probes, rechargeable built-in battery, storage capacity for 450 hours of patient data at any given time and ability to network with a PC (RS-232 or optional Bluetooth).