Umbilical Artery pH and Base Deficit in Obstetrics

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(Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015;213(3):257–258)

When a child is delivered, it is important to be able to find objective measures which can be obtained at birth to accurately inform an obstetrician as to whether the infant is healthy and if that infant has any increased risk factors for future morbidities. An example of such a marker is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which serves as an indicator from the neonatal period for cerebral palsy. For many years, infant risk for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy has been assessed by measuring pH at birth. However, many have questioned whether there might be better indicators, such as a large base deficit or lactate. Others have raised the equally important question of whether any of these indicators are in fact reliable.

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