Until recently, pregnant women had to be unhooked from a fetal monitoring system if they wanted to move around, but that’s no longer the case. With with introduction of ambulatory fetal monitors, women can be more mobile instead of bed-bound during labor.
Bon Secours Richmond Health System is committed to providing women who desire low-intervention childbirth with the best possible experience. In an effort to expand on that effort, they now have 11 high-tech ambulatory fetal monitors that allow women to move around freely outside of their hospital room while the baby is monitored wirelessly by health care professionals. Seven of the 11 fetal monitors are available at St. Mary’s Hospital, three are at St. Francis Medical Center and one is at Memorial Regional Medical Center.
Lightweight and cordless with a long strap, the monitor can be carried like a shoulder purse or it can hang from the IV pole, resulting in an increased range of motion for women in childbirth. “Patients love it because they can walk around the labor and delivery unit and be assured that the baby’s heartbeat and the mother’s contraction pattern are still being watched carefully,” said Kasondra Miller, RNC-OB, C-EFM, Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital. “This also helps labor to progress more naturally by letting gravity do the work. A big benefit of the ambulatory fetal monitor is its ability to distract the mother-to-be from labor pain as she strolls the halls of the hospital.”
Cara Golish Hartle, M.D., OB/GYN with Virginia Physicians for Women, said, “More and more women are seeking solutions to help them cope with pain while letting labor progress on its own as long as possible. The doctors and nurses at Bon Secours have embraced the low-intervention birth model and wanted to provide safe, effective tools, including ambulatory fetal monitors and nitrous oxide, for women who request them.”
“We are so pleased to be expanding our low-intervention birthing tools into several of our Richmond-area hospitals to support women who are exploring options for less medication during labor,” said Julie Reagan, administrative director for women’s services at Bon Secours Virginia Health System. She noted that nitrous oxide has been offered at St. Mary’s since March 2014 and was recently expanded to both St. Francis Medical Center and Memorial Regional Medical Center. “Our goal is for every woman having a baby at St. Mary’s, St. Francis or Memorial Regional to create her own personal childbirth story and to feel successful and satisfied about the experience.”