J Korean Med Sci.  2012 Jul;27(7):794-798. 10.3346/jkms.2012.27.7.794.

Fetal Heart Rate Regresses toward the Mean in the Third Trimester

  • 1Department of Mathematics, Research Institute of Natural Sciences, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. parkmi@hanyang.ac.kr


The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of different fetal heart rate (FHR) ranges in the nonstress test (NST) and to better understand the meaning of mild bradycardia and/or tachycardia without non-reassuring patterns. We employed the heredity to show that mild bradycardia (100-119 beats per minute, bpm) and mild tachycardia (161-180 bpm) regressed to the normal FHR range (120-160 bpm). We used linear regression to analyze FHR data from FHR tracings recorded 10 min before (NST, as the predictor) and 10 min after vibroacoustic stimulation testing (as the dependent variable). Acceleration for 15 bpm-15 seconds (Acc1515) and deceleration for 15 bpm-15 seconds (Dec1515) in the NST were also analyzed for each group. The slope of the best-fit line was the largest in the mild bradycardia group and the smallest in the normal range group. Dec1515 was most prominent in mild tachycardia and both the mild bradycardia and tachycardia groups regressed towards the mean FHR range. Therefore, we propose that both mild bradycardia and tachycardia of FHR in non-acute situations (range between 100 and 180 bpm) are not regarded a pathologic signal for clinical use.


Fetal Heart Rate Range; Bradycardia; Tachycardia; Regression

MeSH Terms

Acoustic Stimulation
*Fetal Monitoring
Heart Rate, Fetal/*physiology
Pregnancy Trimester, Third
Regression Analysis
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