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A member asked:

why does the baby's heart beat not get picked up when recording an ecg on a pregnant woman?

4 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Larry Lutwick
Infectious Disease 49 years experience
Too far away: From the electrodes.
Dr. Devin Namaky
Obstetrics and Gynecology 14 years experience
Strength: The electrical strength of the maternal signal is much stronger and the amplitude of the fetal signal is too small.
Dr. Stuart Hickerson
Family Medicine 32 years experience
Magnitude: An ekg picks up the electrical signal coming from the heart. That is why the leads are placed in the area around the heart. The baby's elctrical signals are distant from the leads and blocked by the uterus and abdominal wall.
Dr. Douglas Lawson
Obstetrics and Gynecology 28 years experience
Lead placement: Your ECG leads are placed to pick up your your heart beat and if misplaced won't pick it up correctly. In order to pick up the baby's heart rate like an ecg, you have to use a scalp electrode, which is a wire that actually is inserted into the baby's scalp during labor. Your heart is also larger and closer to your skin, so the leads pick it up.

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Last updated Mar 21, 2017

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