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In low risk labors, how does conducting intermittent auscultation compared to electronic fetal monitoring affect the fetal well-being?

Intro/significance/background: Monitoring fetal well-being during labor and delivery can include continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) and intermittent auscultation (IA). EFM involves two monitors placed on mom’s abdomen which transmits to the computer showing the fetal heart rate (FHR) and the contraction pattern. IA is intermittent monitoring using one of many devices to hear the FHR every certain number of minutes but not continuously. IA is widely encouraged in low-risk labors, yet it is not being utilized as much as evidence recommends Objective: the purpose of this project is to highlight the benefits of IA in reducing unnecessary interventions during labor, yet manage labor ensure fetal safety. Methods: The current evidence on IA will be presented to staff via the education board on the unit in hopes to encourage more usage of this method. Results: Baseline knowledge of IA in the nursing staff will be anecdotally collected and encorporated into the educational design. It is hoped that providing a refresher on the benefits and safety of IA as an intervention will increase usage in low-risk labor management. Discussion: education that encourages open dialog among nursing staff with inter-professional team members should encourage evidence-based practice to become the gold standard on the unit. Ongoing discussion and evaluation will be needed to determine if patients are eligible for consideration of IA and then implement it.

Meghan Guimond '22
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