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Obstet Gynecol. 1987 May;69(5):687-95.

A randomized trial of electronic fetal monitoring in preterm labor.


Intrapartum electronic fetal heart rate (FHR) monitoring and fetal blood gas sampling were compared with periodic auscultation of FHR in a multicentered randomized trial of preterm singleton pregnancies with fetal weights of 700-1750 g. Two hundred forty-six pregnancies were studied (electronic FHR monitoring N = 122, auscultation N = 124). Perinatal or infant death was associated with 14% of pregnancies with electronic FHR monitoring and 15% with auscultation. No significant differences were noted in the prevalence of low five-minute Apgar scores, intrapartum acidosis, intracranial hemorrhage, or frequency of cesarean section (P greater than .10). Compared with electronic FHR monitoring, intrapartum auscultation as done in this study is unlikely to be associated with detectable differences in perinatal outcomes within the high-risk setting of preterm labor.

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