November 1st 2007
The degree of asphyxia is best ascertained by measuring the amount of fetal acidosis determined by umbilical arterial blood. An umbilical arterial pH of less than 7.0 is seen in about 0.3% of deliveries.1 It indicates a severity of acidosis that places the fetus at risk for permanent neurological damage because of asphyxia. However, the outcome of infants with umbilical cord pH of less than 7.0 who required neonatal intensive care is relatively good. Eighty-one percent can be expected have a normal examination at discharge.