There are limited data to guide the duration and dose of oxygen supplementation for pregnant women undergoing labor.
To assess the effect of maternal long-duration high-concentration oxygen administration during labor on umbilical cord venous partial pressure of oxygen.
This randomized clinical trial was conducted between January and October of 2021 in the obstetrics wards of 3 tertiary teaching hospitals in Beijing, China. Women undergoing the latent phase of labor with no existing medical conditions or obstetrical complications who were admitted for delivery were eligible. The women who met inclusion criteria with category I fetal heart rate tracings in labor were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to oxygen or room air. The oxygen group received 10 L of oxygen per minute by simple, tight-fitting face mask until delivery. The room-air group received room air only, without a face mask. The primary outcome was the umbilical cord venous partial pressure of oxygen.
A total of 661 women were screened, and 521 were excluded; 140 participants with category I fetal heart rate tracings were enrolled and randomized to oxygen (N=70) or room air (N=70). A total of 135 women with valid paired umbilical cord venous and arterial gas values were included in the umbilical cord venous partial pressure of oxygen and arterial pH analyses. All 140 women were included in the fetal heart rate tracings analysis. Baseline characteristics were similar between the oxygen and room-air groups. The duration of oxygen exposure was approximately 322±147 minutes. There were no differences between the oxygen and room-air groups in the umbilical cord venous partial pressure of oxygen (mean difference, 1.1 mm Hg; 95% confidence interval, −1.0 to 3.2; P=.318) or the proportion of participants with category II fetal heart rate tracings (81.4% vs 78.6%; relative risk, 1.04; 95% confidence interval, 0.88–1.22; P=.672). However, the umbilical cord arterial pH was significantly lower in the oxygen group than in the room-air group (median, 7.23; interquartile range, 7.20–7.27 vs median 7.27; interquartile range, 7.20–7.30; P=.005).
Maternal long-duration high-concentration oxygen administration during labor did not affect either the umbilical cord venous partial pressure of oxygen or fetal heart rate pattern distribution but resulted in a deterioration of the umbilical cord arterial pH at birth.