Fetal acoustic stimulation in early labor and pathologic fetal acidemia: A preliminary report

Suneet P. Chauhan, Nancy W. Hendrix, Lawrence D. Devoe, James A. Scardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine if a nonreactive response to fetal acoustic stimulation in early labor can predict a significantly higher risk of umbilical arterial pH <7.10 or <7.00. Methods: Fetal acoustic stimulation was applied to the fetuses of term parturients (gestational age ≥37 weeks) with cervical dilation of ≤5 cm. The responses to stimulation were correlated with cesarean delivery for fetal distress and umbilical arterial pH. Student's t-test, Chi-square, and Fisher exact test were used; P < 0.05 was considered significant. Relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. Results: The study population contained 271 subjects, of which 90% (244) had a reactive response following acoustic stimulation and 10% (27) a nonreactive response. The maternal demographics, time interval from stimulation to delivery (8.3 ± 8.7 vs. 8.3 ± 8.4 h; P = 1.00) were similar in the two groups. Compared to those with a reactive response, patients with a nonreactive response had a significantly greater risk for: 1) cesarean delivery for fetal distress (2.0% vs. 11.1%; P = 0.03, RR 4.1, 95% CI 1.5, 60.5), 2) umbilical arterial pH <7.10 (2.0% vs. 14.8%; P = 0.007, RR 5.0, 95% CI 2.2, 11.6), and 3) umbilical arterial pH <7.00 (0.8% vs. 7%; P = 0.05, RR 5.0, 95% CI 1.8, 15.2). Conclusion: A nonreactive response to fetal acoustic stimulation in early labor is associated with a significantly increased risk for cesarean delivery for fetal distress and neonatal acidosis. This finding extends the potential value of acoustic stimulation as an intrapartum admission screening test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-212
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 1999
Externally publishedYes



  • Cesarean delivery for fetal distress
  • Fetal acoustic stimulation
  • Fetal admission test
  • Low Apgar scores
  • Neonatal acidosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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