Applications of Doppler ultrasound during labor

Dan Mihu, Doru Diculescu, Nicolae Costin, Carmen Mihaela Mihu, Ligia Blaga, Razvan Ciortea, Andrei Malutan


The information provided by Doppler ultrasound examination during labor permits the understanding of the mechanisms regarding the physiology and pathophysiology of feto-placental exchange and the fetal adaptive systems. There are certain technical difficulties related to intrapartum Doppler ultrasound examination. The investigated sites are the uterine arteries, umbilical arteries, fetal circulation. In diastole, when intrauterine pressure exceeds maternal diastolic pressure, the perfusion pressure of the uterine artery blood flow is no longer present. A progressive decrease in the diastolic component is seen along with an increase in intrauterine pressure from 10 to 60 mmHg. During premature birth or preeclampsia, there are particular changes in the uterine blood flow. A remarkable stability of the umbilical resistance index is found during labor, which shows the permanent presence of feto-placental exchange. Certain correlations can be established between fetal heart rate changes in labor and Doppler ultrasound aspects at the level of umbilical arteries. Doppler examination confirms the concept of reduced cerebral blood flow by the compression of the fetal skull as a cause of decelerations occurring during labor. The decision regarding the extraction of the fetus can only be made by correlating the results of Doppler ultrasound with the other paraclinical methods for the monitoring of the intrapartum fetal status.


fetal heart rate; labor; Doppler ultrasound

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