Emergency Notice | Although we are in the midst of a global epidemic, we want to assure our current and inquiring clients that we are working diligently while taking all necessary and precautionary steps to ensure the safety and health of our WKW staff. ***Please note that we offer virtual meetings.***

Negligent Fetal Monitoring During Labor

Free Case Evaluation

Injury Attorneys | Restoring LivesTM

Updated July 3, 2020 | Birth Injuries |

Negligent Fetal Monitoring During Labor

What Is Fetal Monitoring?

Fetal monitoring measures the heart rate, rhythm, and other functions of the fetus, including the presence or absence of accelerations and decelerations of the heartbeat.

The average fetal heart rate is between 110 and 160 beats per minute, but this could change as the fetus responds to conditions in the uterus. Abnormalities in fetal heart rate or pattern may indicate that the fetus is not getting enough oxygen or that there are other problems, and such monitoring is done in two ways—internally or externally.

Internal Fetal Heart Monitoring

This method uses a thin wire (electrode) that runs from the scalp of the fetus through the cervix of the mother. This method gives better readings but can only be used when the fetus reaches the proper position in the birth canal and adequate dilation has occurred. Internal monitoring is used to watch the fetus more closely during labor or when external monitoring fails to provide a good reading.

External Fetal Heart Monitoring

This method uses a device to listen to and record the fetus heartbeat through the abdomen of the mother. Typically, an ultrasound transducer is attached to the abdomen with straps, it transmits the fetal heartbeat rate and pattern to a computer, displays this information on a screen, and then prints the data on paper.

When Is Fetal Monitoring Necessary?

Fetal monitoring is especially helpful if:

  • You have a high-risk pregnancy
  • You have diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Your baby is not developing or growing properly

Fetal monitoring may be used in other tests, including:

  • Nonstress test (measures fetal heart rate as the fetus moves)
  • Contraction test (measures fetal heart rate and uterine contractions)
  • Biophysical profile (BPP) (combines a nonstress test with an ultrasound)

What Are the Benefits and Risks of Fetal Monitoring?


  • May help with recognition of problems in the fetus
  • Could indicate the need for other testing or alternative delivery methods


  • Infection (with internal monitoring)
  • Fetus scalp injury (with internal monitoring)
  • Increased chance of forceps and vacuum use for vaginal delivery, and for cesarean section (C-section) delivery.

Negligence in Fetal Monitoring

Failure to recognize or properly address a concern that arises during fetal monitoring can lead to health risks and lifelong injuries. Possible health risks and injuries include:

Contact a Birth Injury Attorney Today

If you believe that your child has been injured as a result of negligent fetal monitoring during labor, your first step is to reach out to a birth injury lawyer. An Indianapolis birth injury lawyer and staff can help you build a case and get you and your child the help you need.

With a strong and trustworthy attorney, you’ll have someone advocating for what’s rightfully yours. Contact Wilson Kehoe Winingham for a consultation to decide how to best move forward with your case. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

Related Posts

  • What Is Fetal Distress? Fetal distress, or non-reassuring fetal status, is an uncommon complication of labor that refers to the presence of signs that suggest…

  • Our client sought the services of the obstetrician for her first pregnancy. During the labor and delivery process, she and her infant son were not…

  • Our client was induced for labor at 40 weeks and two days gestation. She presented somewhat tenuously, and, despite red flags, she continued to receive…

WKW Case Evaluation

Request A Free Case Evaluation

Back to Top