All anesthetic drugs or agents given to a patient in labor, whether administered by inhalation or by oral or parenteral routes, have a depressing effect on the fetus. The effect may be great or small depending on the dosage, the agent, and the time of administration in relation to delivery. The fetus exists in the uterus in an oxygen atmosphere of approximately 50%. If the newborn infant is a full-term, normal child, and is born without undue trauma or drug depression, there will be rapid upward adjustment of its blood oxygen saturation to normal adult levels. This adjustment to 95% and 96% oxygen saturation of the blood will occur within 15 minutes after delivery if no general anesthesia or analgesia is used and if the child is born from a normal spontaneous delivery at term. This does not mean that general anesthetic and analgesic agents should not be used in
Taylor ES. THE ROLE OF ANALGESIA AND ANESTHESIA IN FETAL SALVAGE. JAMA. 1954;156(16):1481–1483. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950160011003
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