The Truth About Fetal Monitoring You Won’t Find In A Book

If your baby needs continuous monitoring in labor, don’t let it get you down.


I have been a birth doula for over 15 years. Birthing people have to work with medical supports and hold their power in the birth room. Some surprising non-medical things can happen with electronic fetal monitoring. I want you to know about them in case you need monitoring during your labor.

Here are the 3 things that are important to know for childbirth:

1. Don’t rest because you are being monitored

During childbirth moving your body is helpful to the process.

Some people have it in their mind that if they get strapped into the monitors and then assume that means they need to hold still. Doing so may hold up labor progress and increase the need for further medical supports.

Keep moving your body unless it’s medically necessary to hold still.

2. It’s an art not a science

The skill level of your nurse matters.

I’ve seen many tricks to picking up a baby’s heartbeat over the years. If your nurse struggles to keep the baby on the monitor:

  • Remember that a baby falling off the monitor in itself does not mean there is a medical problem with you or the baby.
  • Every time you change positions there is a chance the monitor will shift and need to be readjusted. That is normal. Keep moving!!
  • If you don’t feel like your nurse is competent, ask for a different nurse.

Advocate for yourself. It’s annoying to be bugged frequently in labor because your nurse lacks the skills.

3. It can be hypnotizing, in a bad way

The last thing is to remember during childbirth that paying attention to the monitors can take away from your experience.

The fetal monitors will beep and blip and make a picture of your baby’s heart rate. People get sucked into watching this screen. Don’t let it distract from moving and making meaningful memories. You are the boss of your birth experience. If something doesn’t feel right to you or you have a concern.

Speak Up!

Send me a note if you have more questions about birth or relationships.

Thanks for reading,


About Amity Kramer

Amity Kramer has been helping families cultivate unconditional love since 2008. She is a Birthing From Within Mentor, Certified Gottman Educator, and founder of Thresholds. Amity leads soulful workshops for families in transition. She also is a practicing birth and postpartum doula which gives her a unique window into the joys and struggles of family life.

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