Skip to main content

Constant monitoring with EFM

EFM (electronic fetal monitoring) uses ultrasound waves to hear your baby’s heart. Your midwife uses a machine called a transducer, held against your abdomen or a small electrode clipped onto your baby’s scalp or bottom if your baby's breech.

EFM monitors your baby continuously. For some babies this can be very important - if they are at risk or if it's known that there may be an issue.


  • in most cases, continuous EFM is not very useful in uncomplicated labour
  • interpreting the monitor reading is a highly skilled job.
  • even very experienced obstetricians can differ in opinion about what is a 'normal' reading, and what may give cause for concern

In many hospitals midwives agree that continuous EFM is not needed for normal labour, especially in the first stage.

Sometimes a Doppler or Pinard stethoscope is used instead.

Follow us on: