Monitoring foetal heartbeat during labour. A cardiotocography machine is used to monitor a pregnant woman's contractions and the heartbeat of her baby during labour. Foetal heart monitoring is carried out during pregnancy if the placenta is not working properly or if the baby is growing slowly. The test can detect foetal distress syndrome (when the baby's oxygen supply is impaired) during labour, which may result in caesarean section being carried out. The heartbeat is picked up by an ultrasound scanner strapped to the woman's abdomen or by a wire attached to the foetus's head through the vagina. A pressure gauge detects contractions.
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