Portable monitors in Guelph General Hospital’s Family Birthing Unit are better for moms and babies

Caring donors improve the experience of labouring moms and newborns by funding two new wireless fetal heart-rate monitors and two new portable newborn cardiac monitors.

One of the best things a laboring mom can do to help progress her labour is walk. At Guelph General Hospital, laboring moms are encouraged to walk the halls of the Rotary Club of Guelph Family Birthing Unit as their body naturally prepares for the birth of their baby.

However, until only recently, there were some laboring moms who couldn’t have this freedom. That’s because in certain circumstances the fetal heart rate must be continuously monitored. With only a short cord between the stationary monitor and the heart rate strap around mom’s belly, movement was limited.

“Moms in this circumstance would often say they feel too limited in their movement,” said Laurie Williamson, Clinical Director Maternal Newborn and Paediatric Services. “The furthest these moms could travel was to sit at the foot of their bed.”

Moms and nurses are so thankful to now have two wireless fetal heart rate monitors that give moms the freedom to walk while nurses maintain the ability to continuously monitor the baby’s heart rate. The heart rate strap can also be worn in the water, so these moms can also have the option of labouring in the birthing tub.

When a baby is born in distress, one of two new portable cardiac monitors can be quickly wheeled into the delivery room so that when a baby is born, their cardiac performance can be monitored right away. Often, the baby can stay resting right on mom while being monitored.

“The previous monitors were so large that they would take the spot of one person at the bedside. The smaller, portable monitors allow for more space around the bed for all necessary members of the healthcare team to come to the aid of mom and baby in emergency situations. In non-emergency situations, but when more intensive cardiac monitoring is still required, mom and baby can stay together, rather than baby being taken to another part of the room to be monitored,” said Angel Netto, GGH Clinical Educator – FBU.

Like all equipment used in the direct care of patients at Guelph General Hospital, these new monitors were funded by generous donors.

“Every day, donors help save lives and improve health at Guelph General Hospital, and at the same time, they also help provide a better experience for patients and their families. The changes in our Hospital’s Family Birthing Unit made possible by the portable units are simple, but the impact on the patients who need them is very meaningful,” said Suzanne Bone, CEO of the Foundation.