The objective of fetal monitoring during labour is the prediction and diagnosis of fetal asphyxia before fetal/newborn morbidity with particular reference to brain damage has occurred.
Fetal asphyxia is defined as 'a condition of impaired blood gas exchange leading, if it persists, to progressive hypoxemia and hypercapnia' . The operative term in this definition is 'progressive'. Hypoxemia and hypercap-nia as an event during labour may occur in a transient fashion with physiological but no pathological significance. Fetal asphyxia of pathological significance during labour requires progressive hypoxemia with a significant metabolic acidosis.
Thus the diagnosis of fetal asphyxia requires a blood gas and acid-base assessment. In respect to intrapartum fetal asphyxia, the threshold at delivery beyond which cerebral dysfunction or brain damage may occur is an umbilical artery base deficit greater than 12 mmol/l.
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The first trimester is very important for the mother and the baby. For most women it is common to find out about their pregnancy after they have missed their menstrual cycle. Since, not all women note their menstrual cycle and dates of intercourse, it may cause slight confusion about the exact date of conception. That is why most women find out that they are pregnant only after one month of pregnancy.