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What is a Cardiotocograph (CTG)?

CTG post by Dr Adeline Chan, Sydney obstetrician gynaecologist

What is a Cardiotocograph (CTG)?

CTG is an abbreviation for cardiotocograph which basically means heart rate and uterine (womb) contractions. It is also known as electronic fetal monitoring (EFM).

What does a cardiotocograph do?

A CTG monitors for your baby’s heart rate, giving us an idea of your baby’s well-being. The uterine contractions monitoring gives us an idea on how your labour might be progressing, and how your baby is coping with the contractions.

When is a cardiotocograph (CTG) performed?

A CTG is performed usually during labour when we monitor how your baby is coping with labour. It may sometimes be needed throughout the whole labour, for example during an induction of labour or if you have medical conditions such as pre-eclampsia. In low risk pregnancies, a CTG is sometimes not needed. A CTG is generally only performed after 26 weeks of pregnancy.

Then why am I having Cardiotocographs (CTGs) in my pregnancy?

In some conditions, a CTG may be required during pregnancy. It is usually when we have to check for your baby’s wellbeing either because baby has features of being possibly unwell, or if you have a medical condition. These may include, and not limited to:

· If you have a small baby on board, a CTG may be needed every week, or even daily

· If your baby has compromised blood flows on your ultrasound

· If you have high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia

· If you had bleeding in pregnancy

· If you have other medical conditions such as cholestasis of pregnancy, diabetes or features of preterm labour

· If you are worried about your baby’s movements

What about Cardiotocographs (CTGs) in labour?

A CTG in labour is sometimes recommended. It can be due to any of the conditions above, and may also include other conditions such as

· Preterm labour

· Bleeding during labour

· Induction or augmentation of labour

· Prolonged rupture of membranes (breaking of waters)

· Baby’s heart rate was concerning during intermittent auscultation with the handheld doppler

· Prolonged labour

· Epidural

A CTG is a safe way of monitoring for your baby’s wellbeing. It is non-invasive and doesn’t harm your baby. Depending on your CTG readings, your doctor will have a discussion with you on your management.

Dr Adeline Chan is a female obstetrician in Sydney servicing the North West Sydney area. She deliver babies in Norwest Private Hospital and Westmead Private Hospital.

For all appointments and enquiries, please call our friendly staff at 02 9629 3559 or leave us a message on our contact form. We would be happy to hear about your pregnancy!


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