In 2014, nearly four million newborns were delivered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While all parents hope for the safe delivery of their new family member, sometimes oxygenation problems arise during labor. To identify how much or how little oxygen the baby received during labor, nurses can measure the pH of the gas in the umbilical cord.
What Is Cord pH or Cord Blood Gas?
A cord pH or cord blood gas test occurs directly after the baby is delivered. Typically, a nurse will take a blood sample from the baby’s umbilical cord and send it to the lab for pH testing and analysis of carbon dioxide and oxygen levels. The results are helpful in determining whether or not a baby had an ample supply of oxygen during labor.
The results from the blood pH testing can reveal important information about the success of a baby’s delivery. Generally, delivery staff look at two numbers in the results when determining a baby’s injury level:
- pH. Normal pH ranges from 7.18 – 7.38, but a good number usually falls at 7.25. If the number is lower, it can indicate a problem with oxygenation during delivery.
- Base excess. A normal base excess number is around 12, but any number below this could also mean a lack of oxygen during labor.
Causes Behind Abnormal pH Results
Because babies depend heavily on a constant flow of oxygen, any interruption in that flow can result in serious consequences. Abnormal pH results can show evidence of asphyxia, or lack of oxygen, during labor, and this can result in:
- Permanent brain damage
- Seizure disorders
- Cerebral palsy
Get the Help You Need
If your baby didn’t receive enough oxygen during birth, and you suspect a doctor made a preventable mistake to cause it, you need sound legal advice. The attorneys at the Holton Law Firm work hard to earn fair compensation for their clients affected by birth injury. Start on your case by filling out our easy online contact form.