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Experiences of fetal monitoring during labour

(19 Posts)
Sprite21 Sat 10-Sep-11 11:59:17

Hi, I was just wondering what other people's experiences of fetal monitoring during labour had been or what you had been told to expect.
I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 30 weeks and have since been able to regulate my sugars well with diet alone but was told that water birth is out since they want to monitor the whole time and can't do it in the pool.

I am really annoyed about this and finding it difficult to understand if they want to do the monitoring because of the GD or whether this is just standard protocol (from what I understand, biggest risk with GD is shoulder dystocia, which fetal monitoring wouldn't make any difference to until the very last stage of labour when they come out).

My overriding concern is being strapped to a monitor that forces me to lie flat in bed, thus preventing mobility and slowing labour/leading to further interventions. Having spoken to friends it seems like the amount of monitoring is somewhat subject to the midwife or perhaps the particular hospital.

So I'm wondering what happened to other people and whether you were able to either avoid the constant monitoring or move around regardless. It seems like it's the belt that straps around your middle that would be most cumbersome but I understand there are other methods available.

Firawla Sat 10-Sep-11 12:34:13

i had GD aswell and had to have the constant monitoring, which did restrict mobility and had to stay in the bed, although they do say like 'oh yes, you can still move around a bit with the monitors on' practically speaking you can't really! they also made me have a drip in my arm for fluids, because of the diabetes as they had said not allowed to eat and drink in labour. so that restricted the movement aswel. tbh i didnt really see the point of that drip but i think hospital procedure? apparently you can ask for intermittant monitering with the doppler instead of constant monitoring, maybe something to mention to your midwife and see what they say?

cowboylover Sat 10-Sep-11 18:29:50

Can't send a link as on my phone but there are NICE guidelines for fetal monitoring.

Are you under consultant care? With mine due to various issues I was told I would be constantly monitored but we agreed for 15 mins every hour unless there where any signs of distress which worked well for me when things where going well.

Also have you seen the labour room beds? The one I had adjusted so much it was more like a chair so that was great when I was on the drip I didn't feel stuck at all.

I was told they can't make you do anything you dont want to so keep it in mind and ask/tell them what you want.

Sprite21 Sun 11-Sep-11 11:44:34

Thanks for the advice, both. cowboy lover I will definitely look up the NICE guidelines on monitoring.
I insisted on meeting the consultant last week but she was a little vague about the monitoring as she seemed to agree 'in principle' that it could be cumbersome but didn't tell me exactly what would happen to me. Am meeting with lead midwife this week so I like the idea of specifying 15 minutes every hour or something so that I can move around.
Have heard that monitoring with GD is due to risk of stillbirth apparently but think this is quite minute so I want to look into it further.
Firawla I think your experience confirms my suspicions as similarly they said 'oh, you can still move around' but I don't really believe them. Am surprised about the drip, was told I could eat what I wanted and they would just monitor my blood sugars every hour. Were you on insulin during the pregnancy?
I'd been planning on low-GI snacks but midwife said these won't be much use and should try isotonic drinks and glucose tablets - eek, am scared of sugar now and what it will do to my levels.

becks130 Sun 11-Sep-11 12:27:49

I had blood pressure problems so needed constant monitoring with my DD, it meant that I was very restricted and was bed bound from the moment they broke my waters.

Good Luck with the birth I'm sure it will all be fine x

Wants3 Sun 11-Sep-11 12:35:32

They wanted to monitor me with DS2 so I let them but as soon as I had had enough, about 1/2hour I asked for it to be taken off so I could move about. They obliged!

goodnightmoon Sun 11-Sep-11 20:54:31

i had monitoring for about 10 hours in labour, not because of GD but other concerns. I was totally unable to get up, but i'd also had an epidural. The whole thing was pretty nerve wracking, really.

thisisyesterday Sun 11-Sep-11 21:01:54

a good friend of mine had GD. her consultant tried to make her have a CS at 38 weeks because the baby was going to be "well over 10lb"

she refused and had him naturally. she also refused the constant monitoring.

he was born healthy and well at around 8lb hmm

HCP's can only advise. They can say that they want to do constant foetal monitoring for x,y and z reasons... but ultimately the cjoice lies with you.
If you have read up on potential risks, and if you are happy with occasionaly monitoring of heartbeat etc then go with that.

mrspear Sun 11-Sep-11 21:08:26

My ds was 10 weeks early so i had to a belt round my belly to monitor his heart rate and i think contractions. I was allowed to stand and walk a little and lean over the bed. The midwife was very supportive of me being active and helped esp by making sure the cord was long enough and not getting caught on furniture. I only had to lay to deliver and that was due to him being early - the doctor pulled and i pushed to get him out quick as poss, it took 10 minutes. So i don't see why you have to be strapped down ... unless they mean the clip on the head ....confused didn't have time to read books or go birth classes

KateeTheBump Sun 11-Sep-11 21:15:15

Is there any way you can switch hospitals? At my local one they have a telemetry system which means they can wirelessly monitor in the pool for up to 6 hours. Otherwise, see if you can push for them to let you go in the pool but to be monitored for a period every hour? If you go armed with research they may be more obliging. Good luck!

I'm certainly not an expert, but its not as if you've had the GD for that long, and even if there was shoulder dystocia the water may help things relax enough so you can get them through? Anyone else got any thoughts on that?

KateeTheBump Sun 11-Sep-11 21:22:00

You might find this webpage helpful: which argues that for diet controlled GD water birth would be an important tool in achieving an 'normal' and 'empowering' birth (diabetes is the penultimate section).

squirrel007 Sun 11-Sep-11 21:23:08

I was induced at 38 weeks because of GD, and things might be different if you go into labour naturally, but I was monitored all the way through active labour. I had two pads on the bump hooked up to the monitoring machine (fetal heartbeat and contractions) plus the drip for induction. For about 4 hours I used a birth ball, but then when things got painful I had an epidural and was confined to bed. 

Realistically, I couldn't move around much with the monitor and drip, but using the ball was ok as I stayed in one place. Think it would have been more difficult though as things got more painful if I wanted to move more. 

I was also told low GI snacks during labour, as if sugars went above 7 they wanted to put me on a glucose/insulin drip to control better. I was told that sugar control was important in labour to ensure baby didn't have a hypo after birth due to producing too much insulin. 

I was on a low dose of insulin during pg, just once a day. 

sleepevader Sun 11-Sep-11 21:42:59

Thank you for this thread. I'm planning on asking the dMe questions this week and will let you know response.

Firawla Sun 11-Sep-11 23:11:51

yeah i monitored sugars every hour in labour too, and they were fine because i only ever had a problem with fasting sugars from overnight? but they still said no food and have the drip thing. i was on insulin, so i think maybe they will be less strict if you are not?

Sprite21 Mon 12-Sep-11 10:09:49

Hmm, lots of things to think about. Totally agreed that I should be able to say 'no' to anything I am uncomfortable with. Just trying to understand risks before I do so as obviously I am concerned about healthy birth.
When consultant told me I could stay in pool until established labour (uh, great! no way I'm going into hospital before I'm 4cm) dh asked 'what if she then refuses to get out of the pool? To which consultant replied 'well yes, the baby doesn't have any rights so we couldn't force her out'
Ah, the guilt trips they love to pull.
They wouldn't tell me the cut off for insulin drip but 7 is not that high if I'm popping glucose tablets as they propose!
Thanks for the link kateethebump, very interesting.
Let us know how it goes sleepevader similarly am meeting with midwife supervisor tomorrow so we'll see what she says.

banana87 Mon 12-Sep-11 10:12:25

I had constant monitoring after I fainted during labour. I can't really tell you much other than you are hooked up to 2 machines, one for you and one for baby, and are stuck on your back in bed the whole time.

Justfeckingdoit Mon 12-Sep-11 10:22:26

I was monitored in the run up to a planned induction with DD. Because they were super busy, there were no doctors to induce me, so was on a bed in a ward for 8 hours.

Was monitored by lots of different midwives, at one point was on the machine for over an hour with everything normal, but the midwife messed up and did not save the data.

A new midwife came on shift and wanted to hook me up again. By this point I was pretty pissed off at being immobile and not being able to go to the loo etc. so said no.

She persuaded me to humor her and go on for another 15 mins. During that time DD's heart beat started dropping drastically and I was rushed in for an emcs.

I am very glad she persuaded me to stay on the machine. It is a pita, but probably saved my DD's life.

Sprite21 Wed 21-Sep-11 15:08:08

Hi, just wanted to mention that I have had the baby, a healthy little girl! I wrote a little about my experience of monitoring on the GD link here
Basically, I was not monitored constantly until about 30 hours after my waters breaking since contractions hadn't been strong enough to dilate me to 4 cm and I was put on the syntocin drip after which I was monitored constantly. Didn't really matter though as the pain was so acute as the contractions moved from 2 in 10 to 5 in 10 very quickly that all I could do was sit on the edge of the bed and try to breathe in gas and air for a couple hours before getting the epidural (bliss!).
Even with the epidural I was able to get up and go to the loo and even slept for two hours to wake up and find I was 10 cm dilated. It did feel strange to push and I wonder if pushing was less effective because of it but I don't regret the epidural in any way.
Funny enough, baby's heartrate was perfect throughout but they still took the decision to do forceps (with episiotomy) after I'd been pushing for an hour so it didn't seem to matter a bit to them whether baby was alright or not.

wheelshavefallenoffthebus Wed 21-Sep-11 15:13:59

Congratulations! smile

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