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What's wrong with fetal monitors?

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I like your section on birth. The photos are beautiful and it is very reassuring and has a lot of good ideas, it helped me to think about the birth and plan ahead and I had not thought of these things in this way before reading it. But I still don't understand why you don't like fetal monitors. My doctor says they can save the life of the baby, like a window to the inside.


Dear Mariana,
Fetal monitors are a wonderful invention that when used correctly can save the life of a baby. But as Dale Bernucca writes in the Enjoy Birth blog, fetal monitors as they are now used often end up interfering with the natural birth process and initiating a chain of medical interventions that can lead to a C-section.

With constant fetal monitoring, the mom gets strapped to a table and is unable to walk around. We know that walking hastens labor. When the mom is strapped down, labor often stalls. Many moms say that the experience of being immobilized also heightens their anxiety, which can also stall labor. To get a stalled labor started again, moms are often given medications to jump-start labor, which cause excessively strong contractions and make it more likely that she will need pain meds. These can cause the baby to be born medicated and not breathing normally. Or, worse, the stalled labor can result in a C-section, which is major surgery and not good for either mother or baby.

I am not a midwife, but do check out the Enjoy Birth blog, or Childbirth Connection, for knowledgeable assistance that will help you to have a good and safe birth.

All blessings to you and your baby,
Dr. Laura

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Dr. Laura Markham is the author of three best-selling books

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