The safety of vibroacoustic stimulation (VAS), which produces marked changes in fetal heart rate, movements and behavioural state, remains unclear. In order to determine whether VAS is associated with catecholamine release, we measured plasma noradrenaline and adrenaline in 13 appropriately grown normoxaemic fetuses between 28 and 40 weeks gestation immediately before and 60 and 75 s after VAS. Over this time interval, VAS is known to increase fetal heart rate. There was no significant change in either noradrenaline (median change = +0.06 ng/ml, P = 0.26) or adrenaline levels (median changes = +0.03 ng/ml, P = 0.4). This study suggests that sympathoadrenal activation is not part of the fetal response to VAS. These findings do not support the recent suggestion that VAS may be deleterious to the fetus by provoking sudden release of catecholamines.
- fetal monitoring
- vibroacoustic stimulation