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IMPORTANCE: Intrauterine resuscitation techniques during term labor are commonly used in daily clinical practice. Evidence, however, to support the beneficial effect of intrauterine resuscitation techniques on fetal distress during labor is limited and sometimes contradictory. In contrast, some of these interventions may even be harmful.
OBJECTIVE: To give insight into the current evidence on intrauterine resuscitation techniques. In addition, we formulate recommendations for current clinical practice and propose directions for further research.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: We systematically searched the electronic PubMed, EMBASE, and CENTRAL databases for studies on intrauterine resuscitation for suspected fetal distress during term labor until February 2015. Eligible articles and their references were independently assessed by 2 authors. Judgment was based on methodological quality and study results.
RESULTS: Our literature search identified 15 studies: 4 studies on amnioinfusion, 1 study on maternal hyperoxygenation, 1 study on maternal repositioning, 1 study on intravenous fluid administration, and 8 studies on tocolysis. Of these 15 research papers, 3 described a randomized controlled trial; all other studies were observational reports or case reports.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Little robust evidence to promote a specific intrauterine resuscitation technique is available. Based on our literature search, we support the use of tocolysis and maternal repositioning for fetal distress. We believe the effect of amnioinfusion and maternal hyperoxygenation should be further investigated in properly designed randomized controlled trials to make up the balance between beneficial and potential hazardous effects.