Fetal Heart Rate Patterns and Fetal Distress in Fetuses with Congenital Anomalies

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Over a 3-year period at the Long Beach Women's Hospital, where electronic FHR (fetal heart rate) monitoring was routine, there were 8622 live births, including 41 infants born with major congenital malformations. The neonatal death rate in these malformed infants was 44%; 17 were delivered by cesarean section, 11 of which were performed because of fetal distress. There were no characteristic FHR patterns that would specifically identify major congenital malformations. There was a significantly increased incidence of prematurity, breech presentation, and cesarean section delivery in the congenital malformation group as compared to the overall population delivering at the Women's Hospital. The clinical implications of these observations are discussed.

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