Abstract / Description: 

Objectives: To describe maternal heart rate patterns observed during antenatal monitoring under resting conditions between the gestational ages of 34 to 38 weeks and to demonstrate its associations with uterine activity. Results: Several distinct maternal heart rate patterns were observed. These included unusually high or low levels of variability, tachycardia, bradycardia, regular and irregular periodic changes and sporadic changes where the heart rate suddenly decreased or increased. Some of the fluctuations, especially decelerations of maternal heart rate, seemed to be associated with uterine activity. Conclusion: The clinical implications of these different patterns, for both the mother and fetus, needs to be explored further. There is a need for computerized analyses of the different maternal patterns during different gestational ages to determine its relevance.

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Hein Odendaal, Coen Groenewald, Michael M Myers, and William P Fifer