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Pregnancy—monitoring your baby in the antenatal ward

Welcome to Mater Mothers' Hospitals Antenatal Ward

Monitoring your baby's heart rate and movement is recommended in most high risk pregnancies.

This brochure provides you with information on the various ways in which your baby will be monitored during your stay.

Your baby's movements

Your midwife will ask you about your baby's movements. It is important for you to speak to your midwife if you feel your baby is not moving as they normally do.

Listening to your baby's heartbeat

There are two different ways of listening to your baby's heartbeat during your stay in the antenatal ward. When the transducer (sensor) of either device is gently placed on your abdomen it may take a few seconds for you to be able to hear your baby's heart beat.

  1. Doppler—a portable hand held device that will have gel applied to the small transducer. The midwife will usually listen for one minute.
  2. Cardiotocograph (CTG)—measures your baby's response to movement and uterine activity using two larger transducers that are held in position by elastic straps that stretch around your abdomen. One transducer listens to your baby's heartbeat and the other monitors any tightenings or contractions.

Guardian is a term used by the midwives caring for you to describe the computer system that records the information provided during a CTG. Guardian stores the information electronically and allows the doctors to view the CTG from inside or outside the hospital.

Ultrasound

You may be asked to go to Mater's Centre for Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM), located on level 7, for an ultrasound. You may sometimes need to go in a wheelchair or on your bed, depending on your circumstances.

During an ultrasound scan a different transducer will be placed on your abdomen, with some gel, and moved around to capture images of your baby which are displayed on a screen. The ultrasound can be used to monitor several features of your baby, their condition and their environment including:

  • position of your baby and the placenta
  • how your baby is growing
  • how much amniotic fluid surrounds your baby
  • the rate and strength of blood flow in the vessels of your baby's umbilical cord.

© 2012 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922.

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Last modified 05/11/2015.
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