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continuous monitoring

Posted Sep 28 2008 11:28am

Did you watch the presidential debate last night? (hope so!) I did and I happened to watch it on CNN. Now CNN had an "audience reaction meter" at the bottom of the screen and do you know what? I found it mesmerizing - it was hard to take my eyes off it. Were people buying what was being said? Liking my candidate? The ups and downs - it was very distracting...I found it hard to concentrate on what they were saying, hard to just genuinely feel my own reaction and focus on the men themselves. Why didn't I just change the channel? Because I became interested in my reaction to the audience reaction and decided to ride it out, play around with the experience. See for yourself (fast forward a bit to get to the meter)

If you have read my posts before, I'm sure it's no surprise that of course this made me think about birth... and those freaking continuous fetal monitors. They can be so seductive and hypnotizing. I have seen laboring women question whether they were having good enough contractions (in spite of how hard they were working) because the monitor was not picking up well. I have seen partners, hell - I have seen myself look at the monitor instead of the woman. I've probably said ad nauseam that continuous fetal monitoringdoesnot improve outcomes for moms & babies and that I encourage my students and clients to choose care providers who get that and are not so attached to continuous monitoring. I have also said many times, but it bears repeating I think, that while wireless monitors are great compared to wired continuous ones, the better choice for healthy women having a normal, low intervention labor is intermittent monitoring.

But what if you're stuck with a situation where continuos monitoring is what the care provider wants or some intervention like pitocin is part of the labor or it's a VBAC...or, for that matter, it's what your client wants? Well, if the family wants to control their enviromnment and make the monitor less of a presence, the carts that the monitors sit on roll and can be turned away from view (at least somewhat). The volume can be turned down or a tshirt can be tossed over it (& the clock! But be sure to mention why to the nurse and other care providers)... You do not have to let technology suck you in, unless you want it to.
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