How does electronic fetal heart rate monitoring affect labor and delivery outcomes?
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Continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) reduces the risk of neonatal seizure by 50% compared with intermittent auscultation (IA) (strength of recommendation [SOR]: A, systematic review of randomized controlled trials [RCTs]). EFM increases the incidence of cesarean section by 66% and the incidence of operative vaginal delivery by 16% (SOR: A, systematic review of RCTs). It has no effect on the rates of cerebral palsy or neonatal mortality (SOR: A, systematic review of RCTs). An estimate from a Cochrane meta-analysis suggests that a cohort of 628 women receiving EFM could expect to experience 1 less neonatal seizure and 11 more cesarean sections compared with IA controls.
Journal of Family Practice, 59(11) 2010: 653a-653b.