Fetal heart rate characteristics at 25 to 28 weeks' gestation

Debra A. Guinn, Debora F. Kimberlin, Thomas R. Wigton, Michael L. Socol, Marilynn C. Frederiksen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The objective of this article is to define normative fetal heart rate (FHR) tracing characteristics between 25-28 weeks' gestation in a low-risk population with normal pregnancy outcomes and to determine which criteria best determine FHR reactivity. Continuous FHR tracings were reviewed from 188 low-risk women participating in a trial of the Mammary Stimulation Test (MST) at 25-28 weeks' gestation. A reactive tracing required the presence of ≤two accelerations in 20 min. Different acceleration criteria were evaluated based upon the width of the acceleration (short vs. long) and the amplitude of the acceleration (10 vs. 15 bpm). Seventy-one percent of the FHR tracings were reactive using the higher amplitude (15 bpm), short criteria. This number increased significantly to 92% when the lower amplitude (10 bpm), short criteria were used (p<0.01). As gestational age advanced, there was a trend toward increased reactivity irrespective of which criteria were used, but these differences were not significant. Reducing the acceleration amplitude criteria to 10 bpm in preterm pregnancies will maximize the number of reactive nonstress tests. This is advantageous because it would improve test specificity and decrease the false-positive rate. Our findings need to be prospectively validated in a high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-510
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Contraction stress test
  • Fetal heart rate
  • High-risk pregnancies
  • Mammary stimulation test
  • Nonstress test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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