Intermittent auscultation 'best' for fetal monitoring in labour

UK researchers recommend either the Pinard stethoscope or a hand-held Doppler

Fetal heartbeat monitoring using a stethoscope remains the best way to determine if a baby is in distress during delivery and whether caesarean section is needed, UK doctors say.

In a systematic review and network meta-analysis the researchers analysed 33 studies, including more than 118,000 patients, finding intermittent auscultation often out-performed more sophisticated monitoring techniques.

The team evaluated intermittent auscultation with either a Pinard stethoscope or a hand-held Doppler, computerised cardiotocography,