A new sensor to detect a baby's oxygen levels during birth could help reduce the number of caesarians currently taking place in
Researchers at the University of Warwick believe their new test - which uses a probe to take a blood sample from the baby's
scalp while it is still in the womb - can help to minimise brain damage and also reassure more obstetricians that all is well where
currently, a caesarian birth is being selected as a precaution.
There are already tests for oxygen deprivation (fetal hypoxia) which can be carried out during labour, but they are not always reliable. If a
baby suffers a lack of oxygen during the birth it can cause brain damage, although this condition affects less than one in every
thousand births each year.
The 'on the spot' test would be far quicker than current tests which rely on returning laboratory results as swiftly as possible, but it is still in development and will not be
tested on humans for at least two more years.
For more information on the sensor, visit Warwick University's website.