A study conducted recently has concluded that monitoring fetal oxygen when a woman is in labor, need not ensure that the new born may be more healthier or decrease the chances of an avoidable Caesarean deliveries.
As part of fetal monitoring, during labor, it has been a routine practice in modern hospitals to monitor the fetal oxygen levels of the unborn fetus .This is done in the current view held by medical science that its helps to ensure healthy babies .Another view accepts that it may avoid a C- section due to complications that may arise from lack of enough oxygen to baby.
Often entangled in controversies, foetal monitoring has had its share of criticism from many flanks of the medical fraternity. Since three decades now, doctors have routinely monitored a baby's heart sound before it was delivered .However, its an accepted fact that the slightest variation in the rhythm or strength of the heart sound could make a cautious doctor to consider doing a C-section to avoid risk to the baby.
Advances in technology, helps to measure the level of oxygen as well in the blood which has been understood to help to differentiate the babies that are at high risk of birth complications. Fetal oxygen machines study heart rate to find out if the unborn baby is in any kind of stress owing to a lack in oxygen. The cost of fetal oxygen monitors is about $10,000 each.
IN the recent study, which studied over 5,000 women doctors concluded that the technology has very little proven benefits .The women were randomly divided into two groups. To one group, doctors were given the privilege of reading the oxygen levels. In the other group, the doctors were not allowed to.
It was seem that both groups had approximately 26% cases of C-sections done showing that the the phenomenally expensive technology could not really help in a big way. Other neonatal problems like infections, still births, were also comparatively similar.
Steven Bloom, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, opines that use of such expensive technology only results in sheer wastage of federal money when it really does not offer ground breaking benefits.
The editorial to this publication also pointed out that fetal oxygen monitoring certainly need not be included as part of routine obstetric procedures.
The Food and Drug Administration In 2000, had approved one device, for fetal monitoring but had also cautioned for general use further studies would be required. The FDA In a statement has communicated that now it will revise the labels on the monitors or inform hospitals about the findings based on the review of this current study conducted by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The FDA reiterated that they are unlikely to withdraw its approval of the device, however, just based on this one study.