Monitoring Uterine Activity

Uterine Contractions

Uterine activity is monitored by internal or external uterine pressure monitors. Pressure is calculated in Montevideo units, calculated by increases in uterine pressure above baseline (8 to 12 mm Hg) multiplied by contraction frequency per 10 minutes.

Uterine Pressure Increases and Stages of Labor

Uterine contractions in the first stage of labor increase progressively in intensity from 25 mm Hg to 50 mm Hg, and the frequency increases from three to five contractions per 10 minutes.

Contractions in the second stage increase further (aided by maternal bearing down) to 80 to 100 mm Hg, and the frequency increases to five to six per 10 minutes.

Dystocia is the most common indication for primary cesarean delivery.

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