EFM (Variable Decelerations)
- Variable decelerations can occur at any time during or between contractions and are usually characterized by “shoulders” before and sometimes after the deceleration.
- The decelerations are usually “V” or “U”-shaped and return to baseline within two minutes or less.
- Variable decelerations are due to head or cord compression and are “treated” by changing the mother’s position and applying oxygen.
- Unless very deep (<60 bpm) for extended periods (>2 minutes or more), they are considered benign.
- Variable decelerations occur during the second stage of most labors, as the fetal head moves down the narrow vaginal canal and is compressed by a combination of the uterine contractions and the narrow vagina.