What is Cardiotocography or CTG?

Published 20 January 2023 | Dr Ujwala Parashar

Cardiotocography or CTG is a medical test for pregnant women to monitor the fetal heartbeat and contractions of the uterus, and provides a continuous recording or your baby’s heartbeat and your contractions on a strip of paper or on a computer.

When and why is CTG used and recommended before labour? 

A CTG is typically performed during the last trimester of pregnancy (from 29-40 weeks or months 7,8 and 9). Dr Parashar uses this test to assess the well-being of your baby during your pregnancy and identify any problems that may be occurring. She will particularly want to organise a CTG for you for the following reasons:
  • If you feel your baby’s movements have slowed or have become irregular.
  • She has found your baby appears to be small or not growing properly.
  • She suspects there may be a problem with your placenta that is restricting blood flow to your baby.
  • She has found you either have too much or too little amniotic fluid.
  • You are pregnant with a multiple birth.
  • You have co-morbidities such as diabetes, high-blood pressure, gestational hypertension, or other medical conditions that need extra monitoring during pregnancy.
  • You are past your due date.
  • You have had a previous baby loss in the second half of pregnancy.

How and when is a CTG performed?

CTG is usually performed in hospital. Two round discs containing sensors are placed on your tummy and held in place by a soft belt. 

A CTG is also used to monitor the response of your baby when you are in labour. 

This allows for ultrasound and electronic fetal monitoring that measures your baby’s heart rate and the strength and frequency of your uterine contractions.
These recorded results can then be analysed by Dr Parashar to determine your baby’s condition. She can then take any necessary steps to adjust your care if your baby is in fetal distress.

What can cause fetal distress?

There are many reasons which may cause a baby to become distressed including:
  • A health complication that affects oxygen and nutrients reaching your baby through the placenta.
  • Multiple birth.
  • Your baby is small.
  • You are 35 years or older.
  • You are overdue.

What are the benefits of CTG?

CTG allows Dr Parashar to detect any signs that your baby is not coping during pregnancy or with labour. The test enables her to better assess the health of your baby and the effectiveness of your care plan, and has been proven to improve outcomes for mother and babies during and after pregnancy.

Dr Ujwala Parashar, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

Sam Samant

Dr Ujwala Parashar is a highly trained female obstetrician and gynaecologist with over 15 years of professional experience and training, practicing in Sydney's North Shore and Barangaroo. If you would like more information on conception, or if you are seeking obstetric options and advice, please contact us or call 1300 811 827 to arrange a consultation with her.