Intrapartum continuous fetal heart rate monitoring has been routinely performed at the Jessop Hospital for Women for some years. However, no controlled trials had ever been performed to show its advantages over intermittent auscultation in low-risk patients. A prospective randomized study of 504 patients compared continuous fetal heart rate monitoring with intermittent auscultation. There was no significant difference between the two groups in neonatal deaths, Apgar scores, maternal and neonatal morbidity, and cord blood gases. The cesarean section rate was significantly increased (p less than 0.05) in the monitored patients but this did not seem attributable to fetal monitoring. No beneficial or deleterious effects of continuous fetal heart rate monitoring in labor were shown.