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Two hundred thirty term infants with measured acid-base status in umbilical arterial blood at birth were selected from 1210 consecutive deliveries for detailed neurodevelopmental follow-up at age 4 1 2 years; 203 were examined. Cutoff points approximately 1 SD from the mean (pH < 7.10; base deficit >12 mmol/L) were used to define acidosis. No statistically significant associations between acidosis and developmental outcome were found. The highest proportion of unimpaired children was found among those who were most severely acidotic at birth (pH < 7.04; 2 SD below mean), but this finding was not statistically significant. These findings suggest that the ability of the fetus to produce an acidosis in response to the stress of labor may be beneficial to long-term outcome. The 10 nonacidotic babies with 1-minute Apgar scores of ≤3 showed statistically significant deficits in some areas. Coincident acidosis was not associated with a worse outcome for infants with low Apgar scores. © 1989.

Original publication




Journal article


American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Publication Date





213 - 220