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What causes a 22 week fetus HR to drop from 150bpm to under 40?
My obstetrician sent me to a maternal fetal medicine specialist because at 22 1/2 weeks my baby's heart rate is dropping from about 150 to less then 40 bpm about every 3-5 minutes, it lasts about 20 seconds and then starts to climb back to normal. The specialist determined that the episodes are both induced by pressure and spontanious. The babies heart structure is perfect and is growing normally and my placenta is in front of the baby, or closest the outside wall. There were no signs of umbilical cord compression. The episodes happen when the baby makes a big movement or the Doctor pushes on my belly. The Doctor's first thought is that the baby has vagus nerve over-sensitivity but says she has not had a fetus have this frequent of episodes nor any spontanious episodes. She is testing me for Sjogrens, though it is unlikey, and says that heart block doesn't have induced decelatations. It sounds to me like what we are seeing doesn't fit either of her theories. Both the specialist and my obstetrician say that at this point in gestation there is nothing they can do. I can't find any literature or personal stories that resemble mine. Can you provide any additional thoughts to this?? Could the problem be with the placenta?
I'm sorry I answered your question so late, I was trying to find any information that you might not already have. It sounds to me like there may be some problem with the conduction system in the baby's heart. This may be due to immaturity, and could possibly resolve with time. The over-active vagus nerve theory makes the most sense to me. I doubt its an issue with the placenta--they should be able to evaluate that with doppler ultrasound. The fact that the baby's heart is structurally normal is very reassuring. I think it is just going to be very important to continue to follow up with your doctors while they run the necessary tests to find out what the problem is. I'm sure if there is anything that can be done, they will find a way to do it! Its possible that they might be able to use medications to stabilize the heart rate, at some point along the way, if it continues.
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