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Electronic foetal monitoring system, United Kingdom, 1980

Science Museum, London

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Credit: Electronic foetal monitoring system, United Kingdom, 1980. Credit: Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


About this work

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The baby’s heartbeat and the mother’s contractions are continuously monitored during childbirth using machines like this. Changes in foetal heart rate often prompt medical intervention. Such machines are symbolic of the so-called medicalisation of childbirth. It was initially sometimes difficult to make sense of and interpret the graph-like traces. There was also controversy about how useful the traces were. However, these monitors are now common in hospital maternity wards. This example was made by Sonicaid. maker: Sonicaid Limited Place made: Bognor Regis, West Sussex, England, United Kingdom



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