Fetal Monitoring

Fetal monitoring helps your MaineHealth provider know if your baby is doing well or if it is having problems during pregnancy, labor and birth.

What is fetal monitoring?

There are two types of fetal monitoring: external and internal.

External fetal monitoring looks at the health of both baby and mom and can be done any time after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is done to:

  • Check on your contractions during labor.

  • Check to see if you are having preterm labor.

  • Find out if your baby is healthy.

  • Find out if your placenta is giving your baby enough oxygen.

  • Check to see how your baby is growing.

Internal fetal monitoring looks more at the health of your baby and is only done when you are in labor.  It can:

  • See how the stress of labor is affecting your baby.

  • Monitor your contracts during labor including the strength and length.

How is fetal monitoring done?

For external monitoring, you will usually be on your back on an exam table. Two monitors are attached to your belly on belts. One monitor is to measure your baby’s heart rate and one is to measure your contractions.

For internal monitoring, a doctor will insert a thin wire through your vagina into your uterus to attach to your baby’s scalp. Your doctor will discuss with you what type of monitoring you will need.

Help with high-risk pregnancies

The Maine Medical Partners Maternal-Fetal medicine clinic provides expert care for high-risk pregnancies. The focus is on keeping Mom and baby healthy and safe.