Effects on the Fetus of Maternal Oxygen Administration

Neeti Sadana, Scott Segal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Oxygen is commonly administered to most patients receiving obstetric anesthesia, presumably to benefit the fetus. The physiology of maternal oxygen administration, the complex anatomy and physiology of the maternal-fetal-placental unit, and the differential handling of oxygen metabolites in the fetus compared to the adult all confound a simple relationship between maternal oxygen and fetal outcome. Maternal oxygen administered for elective cesarean delivery under regional analgesia can only modestly increase fetal oxygenation. Under general anesthesia, and in cases of fetal compromise, maternal oxygen administered during either cesarean or vaginal delivery increases fetal oxygenation, particularly oxygen content, to a greater extent. General outcome measures, however, have failed to show any improvement in fetal status, and there are some theoretical concerns about hyperoxia-induced oxygen free radicals. Therefore, it may not be necessary to administer oxygen to healthy women without evidence of fetal compromise who are undergoing routine cesarean delivery under regional anesthesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnesthesia and the Fetus
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781444337075
StatePublished - Dec 17 2012


  • Fetal oxygenation
  • Hyperoxia
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Maternal oxygenation
  • Neonatal outcome
  • Oxygen
  • Umbilical cord blood gases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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