Continous Fetal Monitoring — The Bump
VBAC

Continous Fetal Monitoring

I am hoping/preparing for a VBAC and in some of my research I see that ACOG recommends continous fetal monitoring for VBACs.  I have a fantastic doctor and I haven't broached this with her yet as I want to do some of my own research, but for those who have attempted or succeeded were you required to do continous fetal monitoring? 

Also, this may be naive, but when doing continous fetal monitoring are you able to still move around?  My understanding was that it was better to intermitent monitoring because of the limits on mobility and therefore less opportunity for gravity to do its work.

I would love this insight and any pep talks or insights from those who successfully had a VBAC with a baby over 10.5 lbs!!  My son was 10.5 lbs and my 36 week ultrasound was only 2 ounces off.  I actually "feel" like this kiddo is already A LOT bigger.  I am trying not to be discouraged, but would love to hear any stories for those with really large kiddos. 

Re: Continous Fetal Monitoring

  • I had a successful VBAC a month ago, my son was 9 lbs 12 oz and we had no issues (total labor and pushing was 5 hours). I had to be continuously monitored which was stressful for me as I was confined to a small space.  I think that I could have avoided the epidural if I could have walked through my contractions.  Other than that it was an amazing experience!
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  • I'm with a very natural birth friendly practice (it's actually a small practice of 3 CNMs and 1 OB who attend births at the most baby-friendly hospital in the area) who subscribes more to the traditional midwifery model of care and they do like to do CFM for VBACs (which they're super supportive of).  I don't *love* this, HOWEVER they do use telemetry monitoring, which is wireless and waterproof.  So, I'm able to move about freely (I guess it plugs in to a small unit that your support person can wear over their shoulder if you're wanting to walk around and that sort of thing), use it in the shower, in the birthing tub, etc.  So I feel like this is a good compromise.  I would not be happy if I had to be tied to the bed.  I would definitely push for intermittent monitoring if it was a choice between that and having to stay in bed with the traditional CFM set up. 
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  • My doctor requires continuous monitoring, and fortunately my hospital has the wireless monitoring mentioned by PP that allows you to walk around, get in the tub, etc. The hospital tour might actually have more info on this than your doctor - I got to actually see everything on the tour and that was very helpful.
  • My hospital required CFM for vbacs and doesn't have the wireless technology. That is the number 1 reason I plan to labor at home as long as possible. I want no part of being tied to the bed.
  • Request a telemetry monitor now! If they don't have one, try to stay at home as long as possible. And think about getting a yoga ball to sit on if you are hooked up to them.

    I showed up at the hospital pushing during my VBAC, which is what I had hoped for. They still monitored me while I was pushing, but I didn't really care at that point. My VBAC baby was 10lbs, 10oz. I had no idea he was going to be that big! I did stay upright for most of my labor, which I think really helped. And I pushed for two hours, which is still a normal for a first time vaginal birth.

    Good luck! How supportive is your provider?
    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • My hospital required CFM, but they had telemetry monitors, which was awesome.  I was able to make a million laps around the floor, go in the tub/shower, etc.

    They did only have a limited amount, but they saved those for the moms laboring without an epi.  I did end up getting an epi, and they switched me to a wired one.  At that point, I was happy to give it up in hopes that another mom could use it and walk around.

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  • My hospital is also hardcore proVBAC and requires CFM. They also have telemetric monitors though.
  • I was required to have continuous monitoring and was required to have an epidural catheter placed per the hospital I had my VBAC in. My very VBAC friendly OB actually talked me into an epidural since I was having an induction (and she was VBAC friendly enough to do an induced VBAC with a repeat of pre-eclampsia and went as far as using forceps to assist to avoid surgery) and all went very smoothly. I'll honestly say that I felt more comfortable having continuous monitoring than I would have without it, but that's a very personal feeling.
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  • My hospital also requires CFM but I was told the cords are long enough that you can pretty much walk the entire room and aren't confined to the bed.

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  • The doctor who delivered my VBAC baby required CFM.  I labored out of bed on a birthing ball, standing next to the bed, or in a rocking chair the until it was time to push.  The doctor who went off call (but who was there when I was admitted) said that I didn't have to be monitored continuously, but I had to be close to the monitor, as in I couldn't leave the room to walk the halls. 

    My VBAC baby was smaller than than my c/s baby by half a pound. 

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