Intrapartum fetal heart rate monitoring: using audit methodology to identify areas for research and practice improvement

New Zealand College of Midwives
Publication Type:
Journal Article
New Zealand College of Midwives Journal, 2009, 40 (1), pp. 24 - 30
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The purpose of the study was to explore the fetal heart rate monitoring practices of midwives and doctors to determine compliance with an evidence-based guideline for fetal heart rate monitoring endorsed by one New Zealand (NZ) District Health Board (DHB). A retrospective audit of 193 randomly selected medical records was undertaken over six months (July-December 2006). The audit revealed deficiencies in choice of fetal heart rate monitoring modality, monitoring technique, documentation, communication and use of a standardised approach and language for interpreting cardiotocograph (CTG) traces especially the description and categorisation of the four main fetal heart rate features. Multidisciplinary education and a standardised template for reporting CTGs were key recommendations.
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