Clinical opinion published on use of maternal oxygen during labor

When a fetal heartbeat pattern becomes irregular during labor, many practitioners give oxygen to the mother. But questions remain whether this oxygen supplementation benefits the fetus or may actually be potentially harmful.

A clinical opinion written by third year resident Maureen Hamel, MD, along with maternal-fetal medicine specialists Brenna Anderson, MD and Dwight Rouse, MD, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, has been published in the January 10, 2014 online edition of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The manuscript, entitled "Oxygen for intrauterine resuscitation: Of unproved benefit and potentially harmful," aimed to make recommendations about the safety of the use of maternal oxygen supplementation in laboring women.

According to lead author Dr. Hamel, "Maternal oxygen is often given to laboring women to improve fetal metabolic status or in an attempt to alleviate non-reassuring fetal heart rate patterns. However, there are only two randomized trials investigating the use of maternal oxygen supplementation in laboring women. These studies did not find that supplementation is likely to benefit the and may even be harmful."

Based on their research, the team concludes that until it is studied properly in a randomized clinical trial, maternal oxygen supplementation in labor should be reserved for maternal hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and should not be considered an indicated intervention for non-reassuring fetal status.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Cesarean section rates in Portugal decline by 10 percent

7 hours ago

A new study reports a significant decline in the rate of cesarean section (C-section) births in Portugal. Findings published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, a journal of the Nordic Federation of Societies of Obs ...

Bariatric surgery affects risk of pregnancy complications

Feb 25, 2015

Bariatric surgery has both a positive and negative influence on the risk of complications during subsequent pregnancy and delivery, concludes a new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The results, which are published ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.