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Fetal Accelerations and Decelerations Nursing Mnemonic

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  • V-Variable
  • E-Early
  • A-Accelerations
  • L-Late
  • C-Cord Compression
  • H-Head Compression
  • O-Okay
  • P-Placental Insufficiency


A fetal acceleration is an abrupt increase in fetal heart rate above the established baseline. A fetal deceleration is a decrease in fetal heart rate below the established fetal heart rate. VEAL CHOP can be used to help remember how to interpret fetal heart rate during labor. For example, early decelerations in FHR (fetal heart rate) indicate head compression. It is typical for decels in FHR during a contraction because of head compression, but FHR should return to normal when contraction ends.


What does veal chop mean in nursing?
Veal chop is a mnemonic that helps the providers determine what the fetal heart is telling us during labor. VEAL stands for Variable deceleration, Early decelerations, Accelerations, and Late decelerations, which aligns with CHOP and stands for Cord compression, Head compression, Oxygenated or Ok, and Placental insufficiency.

What is veal chop fetal heart rate?
It’s used to determine what the fetal heart rate is doing during contractions in labor. If there is Variability that means there is Cord compression, Early decelerations means Head compression, Accelerations means the fetus is well Oxygenated and ok, and Late decelerations means there is Placental insufficiency.

What are the interventions for VEAL-CHOP?
If there are variable decelerations or late decelerations then this means that the fetus does not have good oxygenation so the patient should be turned to her side (preferably her left side) and given oxygen (the additional oxygen will supply the fetus). Early decelerations and accelerations require no emergent interventions.

What does VEAL-CHOP look like?
Variable decelerations indicate Cord compression and show as abrupt changes in FHR, Early decelerations indicate Head compression, shown as decelerations that MIRROR the contraction. Accelerations indicate Oxygenation seen as FHR increases and Late decelerations indicate Placental insufficiency shown as a drop in FHR AFTER the start of the contraction.

What is being assessed with VEAL-CHOP?
Fetal heart rate (FHR) in response to labor contractions. This helps the providers know if the fetus is in a healthy environment or if they require an intervention.

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  • Question 1 of 2

A nurse is caring for a pregnant client who is in labor. The nurse has applied an external fetal monitor to check the baby’s heart rhythm. The nurse notes that the baby is having periodic, spontaneous accelerations in heart rate. Which action would the nurse perform in response?

  • Question 2 of 2

A nurse is caring for a pregnant client in labor and notices the fetal heart rate has decelerations that start after the contraction starts. What are the priority nursing interventions at this time? Select all that apply.

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