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To investigate the effect of the mode of labour and delivery on the total antioxidant status (TAS), and the biomarker of DNA oxidation, 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) serum levels, in mothers and their newborns.Some 106 women with normal pregnancy and normal blood biochemical parameters were divided into 4 groups: Group A (n = 28) with normal labour and vaginal delivery (VG), Group B (n = 25) with scheduled cesarean section (CS), Group C (n = 26) with ‘emergency’ CS, and Group D (n = 27) with prolonged labour + VG. Blood was obtained from the mothers at the beginning of labour, and immediately after delivery (pre- and post-delivery), as well as from the umbilical cord (CB). TAS, 8-OHdG and creatine kinase (CK) were measured in the sera with appropriate methodology.TAS levels were almost similar in all the groups pre-delivery, and in CB irrespective of the mode of labour and delivery, and remarkably decreased in Groups C and D post-delivery. 8-OHdG levels in Group C (0.94±0.08 ng/ml) and Group D (0.98±0.08 ng/ml) were significantly higher than those in Group A (0.26±0.01 ng/ml, p<0.001) and Group B (0.28±0.07 ng/ml, p<0.001) post-delivery. 8-OHdG levels were low in CB, independent of the mode of labour. CK positively correlated with 8-OHdG (r = 0.48, p<0.001), the latter negatively correlated with TAS (r = − 0.53, p<0.01).The lowest TAS and the highest 8-OHdG levels were found in Groups C and D post-delivery, probably due to the long-term participation of the mothers’ skeletal and uterus muscles, whereas 8-OHdG levels were low in CB irrespective of the mode of delivery, possibly as a consequence of the antioxidant action of the placenta and/or the low lipid levels in the serum of the umbilical cord.