Intrapartum fetal pulse oximetry: past, present, and future

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Jul;175(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(96)70242-9.


Oxygen saturation monitoring (pulse oximetry) has markedly improved medical care in many fields, including anesthesiology, critical care, and newborn intensive care. In obstetrics, fetal heart rate monitoring remains the standard for intrapartum assessment of fetal well-being. Fetal heart rate monitoring is sensitive but nonspecific for detecting fetal compromise. Additional clinical information is needed to discern those fetuses not at risk for development of intrapartum acidosis to avoid unnecessary intervention. Fetal oxygen saturation monitoring is a new technique currently under development. This article reviews the evolution of intrapartum fetal oxygen saturation monitoring and proposes directions for future investigation.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis / diagnosis
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Fetal Hypoxia / diagnosis
  • Fetal Monitoring*
  • Forecasting
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric*
  • Oximetry* / history
  • Pregnancy