4.8.3 Recording fetal heart rate on the partograph
The fetal heart rate is recorded at the top of the partograph every half hour in the first stage of labour (if every count is within the normal range), and every 5 minutes in the second stage. Count the fetal heart rate:
- As frequently as possible for about 10 minutes and decide what to do thereafter.
- Count every five minutes if the amniotic fluid (called liquor on the partograph) contains thick green or black meconium.
- Whenever the fetal membranes rupture, because occasionally there may be cord prolapse and compression, or placental abruption as the amniotic fluid gushes out.
Each square for the fetal heart on the partograph represents 30 minutes. When the fetal heart rate is in the normal range and the amniotic fluid is clear or only lightly blood-stained, you can record the results on the partograph, as in the example in Figure 4.8. When you count the fetal heart rate at less than 30 minute intervals, use the back of the partograph to record each measurement. Prepare a column for the time and fetal heart rate.