Fetal Monitors Overview

Fetal Heart Monitoring

Pregnancy is a delicate condition. Hence, a pregnant woman is advised to comply with the regular appointments with her doctor to see how she is and her baby is doing during the process. There are also several tests done to make sure that the baby is doing well on the entire duration of pregnancy. One of these tests is fetal heart monitoring.

Fetal heart monitoring is done to keep tabs of the baby’s heart rate in response to the strength and duration of the mother’s contractions. The fetal heart rate can tell if the baby is doing well or not.

The fetal heart rate can be monitored continuously or periodically (also referred to as intermittent auscultation). During continuous electronic fetal monitoring, a device is used to monitor the heart rate. This device is called the fetal monitor machine.

Fetal heart monitoring may also be done for other purposes including non-stress test, contraction stress test, and biophysical profile.

Why Fetal Monitors are Used

The baby’s heart rate can be affected by several factors including the mother’s contractions and the baby’s movement and position.

During contractions, the amount of oxygen available to the baby is affected. Because there is less available oxygen, the fetal heart rate tends to slow down. It is the body’s way to preserve the available oxygen. In between uterine contractions, the fetal heart rate speeds up as there is more available oxygen both for baby’s use and storage in case of low oxygen supply.

An electronic fetal monitor is used to keep track of the baby’s heart rate during these changes in contraction. This is also to make sure that the baby is getting sufficient amount of oxygen during these contraction changes in strength and duration.

Electronic fetal monitor is highly useful for monitoring the baby’s condition during pregnancy and labor. It can detect whether the baby is doing well or in distress. The latter often happens when the oxygen reserve of the baby is depleted. Necessary medical interventions are needed in cases of fetal distress.

Types of Fetal Monitors

There are basically two types of fetal monitors - the external and internal fetal monitors.

External Fetal Monitor

External fetal monitor is the most commonly used fetal monitor. It comes with velcro belts that hold two sensors in place. These sensors, also called as transducers, are used to monitor the baby’s heart rate and the mother’s contractions.

Both sensors are attached to a monitor or electronic screen. It is where the data from the sensors are reflected. The baby’s heart rate as well as the mother’s contractions are shown in graphs. In most cases, the screen is placed next to the mother’s bed. Depending on the hospital, there could also be a monitor in the nurse’s station for the nurses to monitor several women in labor at the same time. Data reflected on the screen can be printed out on paper.

External fetal monitoring may be done continuously in cases of high risk pregnancies or when the baby is showing signs of distress. Otherwise, intermittent external fetal monitoring is done.

Internal Fetal Monitor

Internal fetal monitor isn’t used as frequently as external fetal monitor. It is usually used when external fetal monitor is not picking up the proper signals.

Unlike the external fetal monitor which can be used right there and then, internal fetal monitor can only be used once the uterine membranes have ruptured as the sensors are placed inside the mother’s uterus. Placing the sensors inside isn’t just possible when the uterine membranes are still intact.

Just like the external fetal monitor,the wires of the internal fetal monitor are connected to a screen, showing the graph’s reading of the baby’s heart rate as well as the intensity of the mother’s contractions.

Tips for Buying Fetal Monitors

Whether you’re buying brand new or refurbished fetal monitor, it’s important to consider the following factors:

1. Company’s refurbishing policies and practices

If you intend to buy a refurbished fetal monitor machine, it’s vital to look into the company’s refurbishing policies and practices. You can also look into the company’s level of experience and expertise when it comes to the equipment that you’re planning to buy.

Absolute Medical is a company selling pre-owned and reconditioned medical equipment and they’ve been in the industry since 2001.

2. Budget

Fetal monitor machines come in various prices depending on their model and features. So make sure to have a budget in mind before you start looking for one; it will make the selecting and buying process a whole lot easier.

3. Features

If you’re looking for a replacement, then you must consider the features that you like in your existing fetal monitor machine. You may also want to think through of the features that you’d like to have in the new machine. You must take into consideration how many times the machine will be used, the purpose of getting the machine, and the usual cases you have where the use of machine is called for.

Refurbished fetal monitor is a good choice if you want to cut the learning curve that usually comes when buying a new machine. There are companies like Absolute Medical that offer high-quality refurbished medical equipment.

4. Product warranty

Repair for medical equipment is not cheap. This is where product warranty becomes a huge help as it helps you save on repair costs.

Products sold by Absolute Medical are not just of high quality; they also come with product warranty.

5. What other people are saying

Reviews are helpful whether you’re buying for the first time or for machine replacement. Just make sure that you’re looking into the right place or asking the right people.

Look for legit review sites that offer unbiased product reviews on medical equipment. Go through the advantages and downsides of each model and compare it to the list of features that you’re looking for.

If you know someone who can be a reliable source of information, then ask the person. Ask him/her what he/she like with the product and what he/she wishes the product to have.

Absolute Medical is a seller of quality brand new and refurbished medical equipment. They have fetal monitor machines from trusted brands like GE, Philips, and HP. You can check out their full list of fetal machines here.

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