Mathematical Modeling of Fetal Cardiovascular, Neurovascular, and Metabolic Response to Umbilical Cord Occlusions
Acidification of fetal blood presents one of the greatest risks to the fetus during childbirth. Current monitoring technologies focusing on recording fetal heart rate are poor indicators of fetal stress levels, and provide minimal assistance in clinical decision-making. This is due to a lack of understanding about which features of fetal heart rate best represent blood acid levels. Since fetal heart rate is one of the most inexpensive and easily obtained measurements of fetal stress, identifying the properties of fetal heart that best predict the outcome of labour is a highly relevant research goal. Mathematical and computer modeling presents an opportunity to analyze different features of fetal heart rate in a systematic way, without the need for expensive or impossible to perform experiments. The goal of our research is to develop a mathematical model that reproduces observed changes in fetal heart rate during labour, and precisely correlate these changes to blood acid levels. This will allow researchers and clinicians alike to better monitor fetal stress from easily obtained signals.