What is the role of bedside ultrasonography in the monitoring of women in labor?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Sarah Hagood Milton, MD; Chief Editor: Christine Isaacs, MD  more...
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Bedside ultrasonography may be used to assess the risk of gastric content aspiration in pregnant women during labor, by measuring the antral cross-sectional area (CSA), according to a study by Bataille et al. [33, 34] In the report, which involved 60 women in labor who were under epidural analgesia, the investigators found that at epidural insertion, half of the women had an antral CSA of over 320 mm2, indicating that they were at increased risk of gastric content aspiration while under anesthesia. [33, 34]

It was also found that the antral CSA was reduced during labor, falling from a median of 319 mm2 at epidural insertion to 203 mm2 at full cervical dilatation, with only 13% of the women at that time still considered at risk of aspiration. [33, 34] This change, according to the investigators, suggested that even under epidural anesthesia, gastric motility is preserved.

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