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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Once your pregnancy is over and done with, your baby is happily in your arms, and youre headed back home from the hospital, youll begin to realize that things have only just begun. Over the next few days, weeks, and months, youre going to increasingly notice that your entire life has changed in more ways than you could ever imagine.