BACKGROUND: Electronic fetal monitoring is widely used to identify and intervene in suspected fetal hypoxia and/or acidemia. Category II fetal heart rate tracings are the most common class of fetal monitoring in labor, and intrauterine resuscitation is recommended given the association of category II fetal heart rate tracings with fetal acidemia. However, limited published data are available to guide intrauterine resuscitation technique selection, leading to heterogeneity in the response to category II fetal heart rate tracings. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to characterize approaches to intrauterine resuscitation in response to category II fetal heart rate tracings. STUDY DESIGN: This was a survey study administered to labor unit nurses and delivering clinicians (physicians and midwives) across 7 hospitals in a Midwestern healthcare system spanning 2 states. The survey posed 3 category II fetal heart rate tracing scenarios (recurrent late decelerations, minimal variability, and recurrent variable decelerations) and asked participants to select first- and second-line intrauterine resuscitation management strategies. The participants were asked to quantify the level of influence certain factors have on their choice using a scale from 1 to 5. Intrauterine resuscitation strategy selection was compared by clinical role and hospital type (nurses vs delivering clinicians and university-affiliated hospital vs non–university-affiliated hospital). RESULTS: Of 610 providers invited to take the survey, 163 participated (response rate of 27%): 37% of participants from university-affiliated hospitals, 62% of nurses, and 37% of physicians. Maternal repositioning was the most selected first-line strategy, regardless of the type of category II fetal heart rate tracing. First-line management varied by clinical role and hospital affiliation for each fetal heart rate tracing scenario, particularly for minimal variability, which was associated with the most heterogeneity in the first-line approach. Previous experience and recommendations from professional societies were the most influential factors in intrauterine resuscitation selection overall. Of note, 16.5% of participants reported that published evidence did not influence their choice at all. Participants from a university-affiliated hospital were more likely than participants from a non–university-affiliated hospital to consider patient preference when selecting an intrauterine resuscitation technique. Nurses and delivering clinicians differed significantly in the rationale for management choices: nurses were more often influenced by advice from other healthcare providers on the team (P<.001), whereas delivering clinicians were more influenced by literature (P=.02) and ease of technique (P=.02). CONCLUSION: There was significant heterogeneity in the management of category II fetal heart rate tracing. In addition, motivations for choice in intrauterine resuscitation technique varied by hospital type and clinical role. These factors should be considered when creating fetal monitoring and intrauterine resuscitation protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101001
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics & gynecology MFM
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • fetal acidemia
  • first-line management
  • intrauterine resuscitation
  • maternal repositioning
  • minimal variability
  • oxygen supplementation


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