- 1.1. Modern electronic techniques provide a more accurate indication of the fetal heart rate during normal and abnormal labor than it is possible to obtain by present clinical methods.
- 2.2. With normal breech presentations and the majority of vertex presentations studied, the fetal heart rate does not slow significantly with contractions.
- 3.3. In the minority of vertex presentations, usually in primigravidas, the instantaneous fetal heart rate may drop as low as 60 to 70 beats per minute and may return to normal 10 to 15 seconds before the contraction is over.
- 4.4. In vertex presentations, fetal bradycardia with contractions is probably related to an increase in intracranial pressure which in turn is related to the amount of cervical dilatation present.
- 5.5. A preliminary evaluation of a working clinical hypothesis based on changes in the instantaneous fetal heart rate suggests the possibility of a more sensitive index of fetal distress.
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☆Aided by grants from the National Institutes of Health, United States Public Health Service (H-2272 [C]) and the Hilles Fund of Yale University.