Monitoring during labour
We can listen to the fetal heart rate through a stethoscope, a Doppler hand-held device or a continuous electronic monitor. Electronic monitoring produces a paper strip, showing graphs of the fetal heart rate and of uterine contractions, which change with time.
During birth, the stress of contractions and descent through the birth canal can reduce a baby’s oxygen supply. We use advanced signal processing and data analytics to interrogate our large database of nearly 100,000 labours at term, with digital CTGs linked to perinatal outcomes. We are also researching which clinical factors, markers or symptoms can make fetal monitoring in labour more individualised and precise.
Our goal is to translate the new findings into a software for risk assessment at the bedside during labour, similarly to the Dawes-Redman pre-labour CTG monitoring decision-support.
Graph caption: Daily fetal monitoring in labour at the Oxford's Hospital. The Cardiotocogram (CTG) consists of two graphs: fetal heart rate and uterine contractions. A typical delivery unit generates 20-25km/year of paper CTGs.