Low Umbilical Cord pH Levels Linked To Brain Damage, Cerebral Palsy In Newborns


Posted on 18th May 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

, , , ,

New research has found that babies who are born with high acidity in their umbilical cords appear to be at a higher risk for cerebral palsy, brain damage and infant death.


The study’s findings, out of research done at the Birmingham Women’s Hospital in England, were reported online by the journal BMJ. 

 When a baby doesn’t receive adequate oxygen during delivery, its umbilical cord blood pH declines. This condition, called hypoxia, is the most common cause of brain damage, mainly among premature and very tiny babies, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. But there had not been any direct connection established between a low pH reading in umbilical cord blood and complications like brain damage.

For this research, Dr. Gemma Malin combed through and combined the results of 51 studies regarding low-umbilical cord pH, studies that covered nearly 500,000 children. The results of the studies were similar despite the wide variety of ways they were conducted, namely that there was a consistent and strong link between pH levels and infant death, cerebral palsy and brain damage. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2010/05/a-new-predictor-of-newborn-health-cord-blood-ph.html

An editorial was published along with the study in the BMJ, and it urged careful surveillance of infants that have low umbilical cord pH.  

“Malin and colleagues’ systematic review of observational data suggests that a strong association exists between low umbilical artery pH at birth and major adverse outcomes including death, hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (usually manifesting as neonatal seizures), potentially serious brain abnormalities identified by imaging (periventricular leucomalacia or intraventricular haemorrhage), and cerebral palsy,” the editorial said.

 “Ultimately, given the findings of this study, we should aim to reduce the number of babies born with a low cord pH, without increasing unnecessary obstetric intervention. Hopefully this can be achieved by more hands-on input to labour ward care by fully trained obstetric specialists for some time have thought that acidity of the blood was linked to potential problems with newborns, but only the new study found a definitive connection between pH levels and adverse conditions such as brain damage.”


No comments yet.

Leave a comment