6 Scopus citations


Background: Fetal acidemia at the time of a scheduled cesarean delivery is generally unexpected. In the setting of reassuring preoperative monitoring, the duration of fetal acidemia in this scenario is presumably brief. The neonatal sequelae and risks associated with brief fetal acidemia in this setting are unknown. Objective: We aimed to assess whether fetal acidemia at the time of a scheduled prelabor cesarean delivery is associated with adverse neonatal outcomes. Study Design: This was a retrospective cohort study of singleton, term, nonanomalous, liveborn neonates delivered by scheduled cesarean delivery that was performed under regional anesthesia from 2004 to 2014 at a single tertiary care center with a universal umbilical cord gas policy. Neonates born to laboring gravidas and those whose cesarean delivery was performed for nonreassuring fetal status were excluded. All included patients had reassuring preoperative fetal monitoring. The primary outcome was a composite adverse neonatal outcome that included neonatal death, encephalopathy, therapeutic hypothermia, seizures, intubation, and respiratory distress. This outcome was compared between patients with and those without fetal acidemia (umbilical artery pH <7.2). A multivariable logistic regression was used to adjust for confounders. Cases of fetal acidemia were further characterized as respiratory, metabolic, or mixed acidemia based on additional umbilical cord gas values. Secondary analyses examining the association between the type of acidemia and neonatal outcomes were also performed. Results: Of 2081 neonates delivered via scheduled cesarean delivery, 252 (12.1%) had fetal acidemia at the time of delivery. Acidemia was more common in breech neonates and in neonates born to gravidas with obesity and gestational diabetes mellitus. Compared with fetuses with normal umbilical artery pH, those with fetal acidemia were at a significantly increased risk for adverse neonatal outcome (adjusted relative risk, 2.95; 95% confidence interval, 2.03–4.12). This increased risk was similar regardless of the type of acidemia. Conclusion: Even a brief period of mild acidemia is associated with adverse neonatal outcomes at the time of a scheduled cesarean delivery despite reassuring preoperative monitoring. Addressing modifiable intraoperative factors that may contribute to fetal acidemia at the time of a scheduled cesarean delivery, such as maternal hypotension and prolonged operative time, is an important priority to potentially decrease neonatal morbidity in full-term gestations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265.e1-265.e8
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • cesarean delivery
  • metabolic acidemia
  • mild acidemia
  • neonatal death
  • respiratory acidemia
  • respiratory distress
  • umbilical artery pH
  • umbilical cord analysis


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