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Article
March 26, 1927

COUNTING THE FETAL HEART BEAT

JAMA. 1927;88(13):1000. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.92680390028010

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Abstract

Nowadays a high valuation is being placed on the life of the child, and it is incumbent on obstetricians to observe narrowly its condition throughout labor. Our only means of investigating this subject is the fetal heart beat, and the latest studies have shown that minute fluctuations in rapidity, rhythm or quality of the tones are of great significance. One can often diagnose cerebral injury in a fetus that is still in utero, and predict that it will have convulsions after it is born. While a fetus runs a risk all through labor, the greatest danger occurs during the second stage, at a time when it is hardest to give it the most attention.

To render auscultation of the fetal heart tones as easy as possible, even after one is "scrubbed up" for delivery, I suggested fastening a listening device to the accoucheur's head. This suggestion developed into the obstetric head

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