Neonatal and Maternal Temperature Regulation During and After Delivery

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Abstract

An important goal of obstetric anesthesia is to provide for the safety and comfort of the mother as well as to optimize physiologic outcomes for the neonate. Markers of neonatal physiologic outcome include cord umbilical artery pH and Apgar scores. Neonatal temperature has often been overlooked by anesthesiologists as an important physiologic outcome measure, but it may be significantly affected by operating room conditions and obstetric anesthesia technique at cesarean delivery. There is a dose-dependent increase in mortality with decreasing body temperature as well as an increased likelihood for more severe early respiratory distress. Multiple neonate-focused strategies have been shown to decrease the incidence of neonatal hypothermia. Because fetal temperature is affected by maternal temperature, strategies to mitigate maternal hypothermia at the time of delivery may also be important in preventing neonatal hypothermia. This focused review will examine the importance of neonatal temperature and discuss its relationship to maternal temperature as well as strategies for maintaining neonatal normothermia after delivery.

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