Fetal heart rate characteristics at 25 to 28 weeks' gestation

Academic Article


  • The objective of this article is to define normative fetal heart rate (FHR) tracing characteristics between 25-28 weeks' gestation in a low-risk population with normal pregnancy outcomes and to determine which criteria best determine FHR reactivity. Continuous FHR tracings were reviewed from 188 low-risk women participating in a trial of the Mammary Stimulation Test (MST) at 25-28 weeks' gestation. A reactive tracing required the presence of ≤two accelerations in 20 min. Different acceleration criteria were evaluated based upon the width of the acceleration (short vs. long) and the amplitude of the acceleration (10 vs. 15 bpm). Seventy-one percent of the FHR tracings were reactive using the higher amplitude (15 bpm), short criteria. This number increased significantly to 92% when the lower amplitude (10 bpm), short criteria were used (p<0.01). As gestational age advanced, there was a trend toward increased reactivity irrespective of which criteria were used, but these differences were not significant. Reducing the acceleration amplitude criteria to 10 bpm in preterm pregnancies will maximize the number of reactive nonstress tests. This is advantageous because it would improve test specificity and decrease the false-positive rate. Our findings need to be prospectively validated in a high-risk population.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Guinn DA; Kimberlin DF; Wigton TR; Socol ML; Frederiksen MC
  • Start Page

  • 507
  • End Page

  • 510
  • Volume

  • 15
  • Issue

  • 8