Putting intelligent structured intermittent auscultation (ISIA) into practice

Date Published: 
Feb 15, 2017
Maude RM, Skinner JP, Foureur MJ

Background: Fetal monitoring guidelines recommend intermittent auscultation for the monitoring of fetal wellbeing during labour for low-risk women. However, these guidelines are not being translated into practice and low-risk women birthing in institutional maternity units are increasingly exposed to continuous cardiotocographic monitoring, both on admission to hospital and during labour. When continuous fetal monitoring becomes routinised, midwives and obstetricians lose practical skills around intermittent auscultation. To support clinical practice and decision-making around auscultation modality, the intelligent structured intermittent auscultation (ISIA) framework was developed.

Aim: The purpose of this discussion paper is to describe the application of intelligent structured intermittent auscultation in practice.

Discussion: The intelligent structured intermittent auscultation decision-making framework is a knowledge translation tool that supports the implementation of evidence into practice around the use of intermittent auscultation for fetal heart monitoring for low-risk women during labour. An understanding of the physiology of the materno-utero-placental unit and control of the fetal heart underpin the development of the framework.

Conclusion: Intelligent structured intermittent auscultation provides midwives with a robust means of demonstrating their critical thinking and clinical reasoning and supports their understanding of normal physiological birth