The CTG has by default become the gold-standard for fetal monitoring during delivery. However the CTG has many shortcomings. It generates results that are difficult to interpret, has a high rate of false positives and has well known inter and intra-user variability - even among experts. In addition, while not being invasive it is intrusive for the mother and partly as a result of this, is only generally used when a fetus appears to be at risk.
The traditional CTG device calculates the FHR by analysing a Doppler ultrasound signal, this produces a reasonably reliable average FHR but does not provide a FECG or support the calculation of beat-beat intervals and thus short-term FHR variability (FHRV).
Analysis of the FECG and the use of FHRV have been demonstrated to have high sensitivity and specificity in the detection of fetal distress.
Recently a number of affordable (and wearable) devices have become available that can extract the FECG from a signal collected via maternal abdominal leads, during delivery or in the ante-natal clinic. In addition, a uterine contraction signal, the Electrohysterogram (EHG) can be extracted.
The potential benefits of this new approach are yet to be fully investigated.
To investigate the acceptability of the technology in the ante-natal clinic - both to the mother and the clinic staff
To investigate the acceptability of the technology in the delivery suite - both to the mother and the clinic staff
To compare the NI fECG to traditional methods of monitoring during at-risk deliveries
To develop predictive ECG parameters for fetal health both before and during delivery
View Project Goals, Methods and Literature Review.