Fetal heart rate decelerations are a temporary slowing of the unborn baby's heart detected on the heart rate monitors routinely used in obstetrics nowadays. They are usually harmless, caused by pressure on the baby's head as it travels down the birth canal. Sometimes the decelerations mean mild compression of the umbilical cord, and are also benign. These types of benign decelerations occur in the early part of the contraction, thus the name early decelerations.

Occasionally the drop in heart rate signals something more sinister - the so-called late decelerations - and may signal significant fetal distress. "Significant fetal distress" means the baby isn't getting enough oxygen and is in serious trouble. This may lead to emergency caesarian section if the late decelerations go down and stay down.

There are those in the world who don't believe in monitors. They say the monitors lead to too many C-sections. I've seen too many bad babies and too many handicapped kids - my four sons all got monitored.

Night, Night! Dr. Hull's Common Sense Sleep Solutions© Copyright© Site Information/Disclaimer