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In a study of 301 consecutive fetal heart rate (FHR) recordings of ≥6 h duration, consecutive episodes of low and high FHR variability consistent with cycles of quiet and active fetal behaviour were found in 38% of spontaneous and 68% of induced labours at term (P < 0.0001). Quiet periods (episodes of low FHR variability) had durations of 12-93 min (mean 25, SD 11 min) and in 48% of cardiotocographs (CTGs) these episodes had a long-term variability of <5 beats/ min. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to the use of FHR recording for intrapartum surveillance. © 1986.


Journal article


British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Publication Date





314 - 321