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Baby's heart slowing or stopping during contractions?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Lately, now that I'm entering the third trimester, I've been thinking a lot about something that happened during my son's birth.

When I was in labor with him (in a hospital with midwives), his heartrate was being monitored during contractions, and it was slowing during contractions more than was considered "safe." Eventually, just before he was born, his heart was actually stopping during contractions.

I could tell that if he wasn't born immediately at that point, the midwife would probably have called the doc for an emergency c-section.

Anyway, I'm worried about this happening again. The stopping of the heart during contractions REALLY scared me. (Luckily, everything was fine.)

So... tell me about a baby's heart stopping or slowing during contractions. Is this normal? What's okay and now? Any experiences to share?

TIA!
post #2 of 14
Type one (or early) decelerations - where the baby's heartrate slows during a contraction and recovers as the contraction eases are generally considered to be acceptable and don't usualy cause problems. They are probably a response to pressure on the baby's head and/or umbilical cord.

I have never heard of a baby's heart stopping during a contraction and restarting in between. How was the heartrate being monitored? Could it have been a loss of contact with an abdominal transducer?
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
You know, I don't remember how it was being monitored. I'll have to ask my dh and see if he remembers....
post #4 of 14
Yeah- I agree that it could possibly have been a monitoring issue- but my son's heartrate slowed down a lot towards the contractiosn at the end, and I remember being very freaked.
I pushed him out probably more forcefully than I should've and had a heck of time healing from it- but he as fine.

I'm not sure the specs on what is "normal"- but if you're worried talk to your midwife about different types of monitoring and make sure that everything is accurate.

Oh- and FWIW- my 2nd baby didn't have any of the heartrate issues my first did.
post #5 of 14
Just wanted to add that not allowing AROM could help with keep the heartrate steady. If your BOW is still intact, then the contraction won't put as much pressure on the cord or the baby. Of course if your water breaks spontaneously, you can't help that!
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
If your BOW is still intact, then the contraction won't put as much pressure on the cord or the baby. Of course if your water breaks spontaneously, you can't help that!
My water had been broken for almost 24 hours at this point.
post #7 of 14
I think there are supplements you can take to help strengthen the BOW... maybe Vit. C. You might want to do some internet searching and try to get that bag as strong as possible before you birth this time.
post #8 of 14
With my oldest (15 now) I had a prolapsed umbilical cord. That's how we discovered it - her heartrate would completely stop during contractions.
post #9 of 14
Were you laboring naturally or did they have you on a pit drip? Pitocin causes unnaturally strong contractions that cause greater stress to the baby which can lead to those dramatic heart rate drops. This is even more true if your water is broken as mentioned because then the contractions are long and hard and the baby has no cushion. Also a change in position can help too. Don't labor supine and hands and knees can reduce some of that pressure. Good luck with this labor, Mama, and try not to stress too much. That doesn't help, either!
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I think there are supplements you can take to help strengthen the BOW... maybe Vit. C. You might want to do some internet searching and try to get that bag as strong as possible before you birth this time.
This is a very good idea. I will research this now.
post #11 of 14
Vitamin C and 2 eggs daily is the best "prescription" for a strong BOW that I have found.
post #12 of 14
I can attest to the Vit C and eggs thing. My water didn't break till I was 10 cm and had been pushing for a long time. it was spectacular when it did break though. Like a water cannon! Very cool.
post #13 of 14
I didn't know about vitamin C and eggs but I ate eggs just about every day and took vitamin C with DS2 and he came very close to being born in the caul. The only reason he wasn't was because I kept poking at the bulging bag of waters and eventually I broke it. He was born less than 30 mins after it broke.
post #14 of 14
If your baby was born fine, did not need to be resuscitated, then I think it is highly unlikely that his heart actually stopped during contractions. Much more likely that his heartbeat was simply impossible to hear during contractions while he was so low in your pelvis. No matter the technology used to monitor heart, once baby is well into the pelvis and birth canal, it can be VERY difficult to detect heart tones.

It is normal for many babies' hearts to slow down to about 100bpm or lower during contrax (at least, from transition onward, when baby is very low and the pressure on baby is greatest--this would worry me in earlier labor, but not late). Dr John O Stevens, homebirth doctor and researcher of Australia, notes that babies have a mechanism for conserving oxygen during this phase--02 is held 'inside', to serve brain and other organs, with peripheral circulation (to the skin and muscles of the extremities) is less oxygenated. Most often there is good recovery of heartrate between contrax.

Too bad that you were frightened in that way by your care providers. Too bad that they don't seem to understand that the issue was FAR more likely to be an inability to hear baby's hear--NOT that his heart was stopping. I'm sure that would have been very scary! Needlessly so.
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