Non-stress test picking up contractions - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 12-17-2007, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Will someone please fill me in on this "craze"? I hear all the time about how women were hooked up to the monitors on a non-stress test and they have contractions picked up every 5 minutes or something. Then the doctor determines that, "Gee, since you're already having contractions 5 minutes apart, we might as well induce you to get this over with!" And then mom says, "But I don't even feel them."

So...what's up with this? Are the monitors picking up Braxton-Hicks contractions that just happen to be rhythmic? Is it picking up electric sensitivity, sneezes, fetal movement? What's the deal?
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#2 of 6 Old 12-17-2007, 02:17 PM
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#3 of 6 Old 12-17-2007, 03:12 PM
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IIRC, it just measures the pressure from the outside, which is obviously no indicative of how strong uterine contractions are. It is the reason if you cough or sneeze, it registers on the tocometer. So essentially, it could be anything, but most likely BH contractions. Goodness knows, with my second, had i been hooked up to a monitor during every other evening my last trimester, it would have looked like i was having regular contractions. And i was, just not active labor type contractions.

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ribboncesarean.gif vbac.gifhomebirth.jpg I have given birth a variety of ways and I am thankful for what each one has taught me.

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#4 of 6 Old 12-17-2007, 09:16 PM
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I actually looked up Dr. Braxton Hicks and read his theorem about these contractions. BH contractions occur every 5-20 minutes throughout the pregnancy beginning at 2 months. His thinking on their purpose was that they help to move the baby into positions that are most advantageous for pregnancy and birth.

Since the uterus is shaped like an inverted pear and baby's body shape while breech is the same during most of the pregnancy (head larger than body), it may be protective at 20 some weeks pregnant. That's why most of the time babies are breech at the 20 week US.
Then as the baby continues to grow and the body (limbs and trunk) become larger than the head, the BH ctx act to turn the baby transverse, then oblique and finally head down.

So, of course they are seeing contractions on the NST. However, the definition of active labor is "regular, painful contractions resulting in cervical change."

If mom isn't feeling them, it is not active labor and she should be sent home.

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#5 of 6 Old 12-17-2007, 10:15 PM
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We never do this at my hospital. Everyone contracts. So what? Labor is defined by progressive cervical change (ask anyone who contracted for days before "official" labor began).

I contracted for flipping WEEKS, every five minutes, and you know what my cervix was when I was sectioned (not in labor -- long story)? Two cm. So what if you contract? If it's not doing something, it doesn't matter -- and if it is doing something, then why would you need to be induced?

mama to Max (2/02) and Sophie (10/06); wife to my fabulous girl
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#6 of 6 Old 12-17-2007, 10:24 PM
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I had a NST at almost 42 weeks with DS1. The monitors showed ctx at 6 minutes apart, then 5 minutes apart, though I could barely feel them (they felt like normal BH). The doctors wanted to keep me (also showing signs of pre-eclampsia, long story), and I had to sign out AMA. The ctx DID in fact turn into real labor, with that night them changing to hard ctx. Of course, they probably would have gone on for a couple days like that, but the doctors wouldn't wait for that, and started pitocin.

Danell - Craft Savvy mama to Evan (3/31/06) and Andre (8/29/07)
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