Electronic fetal monitoring, or EFM, is one of the tools most used by obstetricians and other birth medical providers to monitor the unborn baby during pregnancy and birth. Though culturally widely accepted, with over 85 percent of American pregnant women undergoing EFM, countless studies have shown that EFM and fetal death prevention are not correlated. Arizona residents who might be having or are considering having a baby might be interested in finding out the risks posed by the practice before making a decision about using it.
EFM, which can be used both internally and externally, has been traditionally used to try to prevent complications in the baby that can lead to injuries or even death. Doctors have used it with the idea that they will be able to tell if an issue is developing that can lead to an emergency C-section or a vacuum extraction and so they could take the appropriate steps to deal with the issue and prevent birth injuries.
Though the practice was introduced in the 1960s and 1970s, over time, research has shown that there really was no connection between what it was being used for and the actual prevention of the injuries and death. Furthermore, in some cases, the use of EFM actually led the doctor to decide to perform a C-section, which increases the risk of health issues for both the mother and the infant.
Doctors, however, seem to have continued using the practice for fear of being held legally liable. Interestingly, the information provided by EFM can also be used by lawyers to represent plaintiffs in malpractice cases to show that doctors were partially or entirely responsible for injuries or death during birth.