Fetal monitoring has been available for decades. Both external (noninvasive) fetal monitoring and internal (invasive) fetal monitoring is available. Internal fetal monitoring provides more detailed information; however, it is associated with a risk of infection. Furthermore, the small tube inserted into the uterus for measurement of contractions can become plugged or kinked. Israeli researchers have developed a new fetal monitoring device, which provides just as accurate information as the internal pressure monitor
The monitoring technique, known as electrical uterine myography (EUM), is comprised of nine electrodes, which are attached to the mother’s skin, and a multichannel amplifier. Researchers at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, Israel published a comparison of their device to traditional monitoring with an intrauterine pressure catheter (IUPC), online December 22 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Meir Medical Center physician Dr. Tal Biron-Shental noted that EUM “has a great potential to replace the tocomyometer used today for measuring uterine contractions, because it has the advantages of being non-invasive and very accurate in evaluating the frequency, the length, and the intensity of uterine contractions.” He added, “To me, when this method becomes available everywhere, it will always have an advantage in monitoring uterine contractions.”
Dr. Biron-Shental and his team monitored 47 women in various stages of labor with both an IUPC and an EUM. The compared the frequency, intensity, and tone of uterine contractions between the two methods. They encountered temporary technical difficulties with the IUPD in seven women; however, no such problems occurred with the IUPD. Data regarding when contractions began, reached their peak, and ended showed very high correlations between EMG and the intrauterine pressure catheters; furthermore data regarding contraction length and intensity correlated extremely well. The authors concluded that electrical uterine myography yields information regarding uterine contractility comparable to that obtained with an IUPC.