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Maternal oxygen administration for suspected impaired fetal growth.

BACKGROUND: Fetal hypoxaemia is often a feature of fetal growth impairment. It has been suggested that perinatal outcome after suspected impaired fetal growth might be improved by giving mothers continuous oxygen until delivery.

OBJECTIVES: The objective was to assess the effects of maternal oxygen therapy in suspected impaired fetal growth on fetal growth and perinatal outcome.

SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group trials register (November 2002).

SELECTION CRITERIA: Acceptably controlled trials comparing maternal oxygen therapy with no oxygen therapy in suspected impaired fetal growth.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Eligibility and trial quality was assessed.

MAIN RESULTS: Three studies involving 94 women were included. Oxygenation compared with no oxygenation was associated with a lower perinatal mortality rate (relative risk: 0.50, 95% confidence interval 0.32 to 0.81). However, higher gestational age in the oxygenation groups may have accounted for the difference in mortality rates.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: There is not enough evidence to evaluate the benefits and risks of maternal oxygen therapy for suspected impaired fetal growth. Further trials of maternal hyperoxygenation seem warranted.

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