The effects of vibratory acoustic stimulation on baseline fetal heart rate in term pregnancy

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      Fetal heart rate responses to vibratory acoustic stimulation have been studied in normal and complicated pregnancies. To determine the precise nature of these responses, we studied 50 normal term fetuses with 60 minutes of electronic antepartum fetal heart rate monitoring divided in two 30-minute segments separated by 3 seconds of vibratory acoustic stimulation. All tracings were analyzed by a programmed microcomputer. Comparison of grouped mean 30-minute values before and after vibratory acoustic stimulation showed significant increases in baseline fetal heart rate, fetal heart rate variation, frequency of accelerations exceeding 10 and 15 beats/min, duration of accelerations exceeding 15 beats/min, and frequency of decelerations after vibratory acoustic stimulation. Mean baseline fetal heart rate elevation >10 beats/min occurred within 7.6 ± 4.4 seconds in 42 of 50 fetuses and lasted for 596 ± 531 seconds. Reactive tests increased from 35 (70%) to 47 (94%) after vibratory acoustic stimulation. Most healthy term fetuses exhibit fetal heart rate responses after differing in frequency or magnitude from spontaneous fetal heart rate changes. Vibratory acoustic stimulation may be a valid fetal assessment tool but cannot be considered the physiologic equivalent of nonstress testing. (AM J OesTET GYNECOL 1989;160:1086-90.) Key words: Vibratory acoustic stimulation, fetus, fetal heart rate
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