Yes, thanks for VEAL CHOP--I love acronyms as memnonic device.
I will say that IME, late decels are unlikely to be problematic unless the decel goes on for many seconds and hr does not recover well. Good recovery is key for all types of heart tones--if baby's heart resumes normal baseline and variability btwn contrax, this is very good.
I want to add though, that even if the med ppl believe that late decels are caused by placental insufficiency, we should be EXTREMELY wary of accepting this theory. OBs/staff just hate to think that they might not know what is going on for babies, but sometimes we just don't! Plain and simple. I've seen a fair amount of late decels over time (rarely prounounced or lengthy, and always good recovery), and I can't say that I think any of them could be positively linked to placental insufficiency.
I won't say they never were, but there are some important things to remember here:
It's only a THEORY, with no real proof to back it up. The placenta is an amazingly powerful, resilient, highly competent organ, able to handle quite a lot of stress and disruption while still feeding baby just fine. (no, it's not indestructible, occasionally it's function might truly be insufficient).
Late decels, from what I've seen, are viewed with horror and dismay, a very nearly *certain* sign of impending fetal distress. Simply NOT TRUE.
Heck, my last baby was born in the hospital (first hossie birth)--and my OB let me labor through a couple of hours of very very bad late decels (FHT going down to about 60, several seconds remaining that low, very slow recovery--and there was thick mec present). I remained hopeful because his recovery was very good, and contrax were spaced far enough (5min) that my baby seemed to continue to be ok--stressed but not DIS stressed. It was me who finally asked for surgery, because even *I* started to worry that my baby would crash--making everything much worse (IMO) for him and me both than a csec under spinal would be. The OB said he was willing to give it 'another hour or 2'! But I said I thought surgery was best and so we went. Anyway, even after those hours of such very poor FHTs, my boy was just fine--came out pink and crying, no RDS, not a moment of worry for him.
Believe me, most women would be sectioned LONG before I was, with the kind of tracing we were getting on my son. Kudos to my doc for not overreacting, and for staying out of my way of decisions.
By the way, I had the internal EFM, extremely unlikely that we were just missing beats as can happen with the external/belt monitor.
I always like to remember that for some babies, there is more stress during labor than for others....but 'stress' does NOT equal 'distress'.