Fetal welfare assessment

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Fetal lactate measurement in labour

Prof Christine East, Prof Shaun Brennecke, Dr Mary-Ann Davey, Dr Omar Kamlin

There is currently an epidemic of caesarean sections performed in Australia and overseas. Although many caesarean sections are performed for concerns about fetal welfare, the majority of babies are shown to be well at birth, meaning that the operation, with its inherent short- and long-term risks, could have been avoided, without compromising the baby’s health. This project is a world-first randomised trial of fetal scalp blood sampling for lactate estimation during labour, with a view to reducing the caesarean section rate for apparently non-reassuring fetal status.

This may become a test that is easier to use and predicts outcomes as well or better than current monitoring methods.

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