Non-invasive transabdominal uterine electromyography correlates with the strength of intrauterine pressure and is predictive of labor and delivery

H. Maul, W. L. Maner, G. Olson, G. R. Saade, R. E. Garfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Scopus citations


Objective: The study was conducted to investigate whether the strength of uterine contractions monitored invasively by intrauterine pressure catheter could be determined from transabdominal electromyography (EMG) and to estimate whether EMG is a better predictor of true labor compared to tocodynamometry (TOCO). Study design: Uterine EMG was recorded from the abdominal surface in laboring patients simultaneously monitored with an intrauterine pressure catheter (n = 13) or TOCO (n = 24). Three to five contractions per patient and corresponding electrical bursts were randomly selected and analyzed (integral of intrauterine pressure; integral, frequency, amplitude of contraction curve on TOCO; burst energy for EMG). The Mann-Whitney test, Spearman correlation and receiver operator characteristics (ROC) analysis were used as appropriate (significance was assumed at a value of p < 0.05). Results: EMG correlated strongly with intrauterine pressure (r = 0.764; p = 0.002). EMG burst energy levels were significantly higher in patients who delivered within 48 h compared to those who delivered later (median [25%/75%]: 96640 [26 520-322 240] vs. 2960 [1560-10 240]; p < 0.001), whereas none of the TOCO parameters were different. In addition, burst energy levels were highly predictive of delivery within 48 h (AUC = 0.9531; p < 0.0001). Conclusion: EMG measurements correlated strongly with the strength of contractions and therefore may be a valuable alternative to invasive measurement of intrauterine pressure. Unlike TOCO, transabdominal uterine EMG can be used reliably to predict labor and delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-301
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2004



  • Intrauterine pressure
  • Preterm labor
  • Tocodynamometry
  • Uterine contractility
  • Uterine electromyography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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