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Fetal Monitoring for Healthcare Personnel With Limited or No Obstetric Expertise: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness, Safety, and Guidelines

Last updated: March 31, 2016
Project Number: RC0760-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Devices and Systems
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What are the clinical benefits and harms associated with the use of fetal monitoring in either the prenatal period or during obstetric emergency by healthcare personnel with limited or no obstetric expertise?
  2. What are the evidence-based guidelines associated with the use of fetal monitors by healthcare personnel with limited or no obstetric expertise?

Key Message

Due to lack of evidence, the clinical benefits and harms associated with the use of fetal monitoring in the prenatal period or during obstetric emergency by healthcare personnel with no obstetric expertise are unclear and no conclusions can be made. The development of Canadian guidelines for the use of fetal monitoring by rural and remote healthcare providers who do not normally provide obstetric care may be warranted, as many remote communities do not have specialized prenatal or obstetric care providers. The RANZCOG guideline suggests that those who provide care to labouring women should ensure that they understand available fetal surveillance options and understand relevant maternal and fetal pathophysiology. With respect to educational concerns, regular, multi-disciplinary clinical audits that focus on both maternal and neonatal outcomes with respect to intrapartum fetal monitoring were recommended.