Electronic fetal monitoring: Are we meeting documentation standards?

Gary D.V. Hankins, Terry Leicht, Garland D. Anderson, Thomas F. Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To test whether fetal heart rate documentation requirements for high-risk pregnancies are too stringent to achieve compliance, especially during the second stage of labor. STUDY DESIGN: Random retrospective chart and monitor strip review of deliveries occurring one year earlier were reviewed. Thirty-four low-risk and 34 high-risk pregnancies were selected and assessed for compliance with nationally accepted documentation guidelines. RESULTS: All monitor strips and charts were successfully retrieved from medical records. Charted documentation of the strips met national requirements in the active phase of the first stage of labor in 97% of cases, as did documentation during the second stage. For high-risk pregnancies, compliance during the active phase of the first stage of labor was 65% as compared to 35% in the second stage. All infants had normal five-minute Apgar scores, and none had umbilical arterial acidemia. CONCLUSION: Given current resources, we cannot reliably meet established documentation standards for high-risk pregnancies. Such overly stringent documentation standards pose a significant risk in cases going to litigation. A standard should be developed that is based on outcome data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-444
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine for the Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1999


  • Fetal monitoring
  • Labor
  • Pregnancy, high-risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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