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Intrauterine Resuscitation During Labor: Review of Current Methods and Supportive Evidence


  • Kathleen Rice Simpson RNC, PhD

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Kathleen Rice Simpson, RNC, PhD, FAAN, is a perinatal clinical nurse specialist at St. John's Mercy Medical Center, St. Louis, MO.

Kathleen Rice Simpson, RNC, PhD, FAAN, Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist, St. John's Mercy Medical Center, 615 South New Ballas Road, St. Louis, MO 63141. E-mail:


When the fetal heart rate pattern is suggestive of fetal compromise during labor, various methods to promote fetal well-being are traditionally initiated. They include maternal repositioning, reduction of uterine activity, an intravenous fluid bolus, oxygen administration, correction of maternal hypotension, amnioinfusion, and alteration of second-stage labor pushing efforts. Although these intrauterine resuscitation techniques are commonly used, and in some cases considered standard care, supportive data could be more robust. Nevertheless, there is enough evidence to suggest they are beneficial to the fetus and there is minimal risk of harm when used with clinical common sense. Until more data are available, it seems reasonable to err on the side of fetal safety by using these techniques when appropriate, based on the specific fetal heart rate pattern.