Fetal Scalp Sampling

What is fetal scalp sampling?

Fetal scalp sampling is a procedure for taking a small amount of blood from your baby’s scalp during labor.

When is it used?

During labor, a fetal monitor will be used to check your baby’s heart rate. If the heart rate is not normal, your healthcare provider may take blood from the baby’s scalp to see if the baby is getting enough oxygen.

What happens during this test?

You will lie on your back or on your side with your top leg bent. Your healthcare provider will put a small round cone into your vagina to move the cervix out of the way so he or she can see the baby’s head. Your provider will clean the baby’s scalp, make a slight nick in the skin, and catch a small amount of blood in a tube. The blood will be checked right away.

This test usually takes just a few minutes.

What happens after the test?

If your baby is not doing well, you may have a C-section to deliver the baby right away. A C-section is an operation that delivers your baby through a cut in your belly and uterus. If the baby isn’t born right away, another sample of blood from the scalp may be tested later.

What are the risks of this test?

There is a small risk of bleeding or infection for the baby.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-06-09
Last reviewed: 2014-09-17
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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