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Cardiotocography (CTG) is a widely used method for assessing fetal wellbeing during labor. It is well-known that CTG has high sensitivity but low specificity. To avoid unnecessary operative interventions, adjunctive methods such as fetal blood sampling (FBS) are used. Few studies have looked into whether FBS can be used during second stage of labor, and in that case, which of the methods (lactate or pH) are preferred. To evaluate clinical effectiveness of measuring lactate versus pH in preventing birth acidemia when FBS was performed during second stage of labor. Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial . Thousand three hundred and thirty-eight women with a singleton pregnancy, cephalic presentation, gestational age ≥34 weeks, and indication for FBS during second stage of labor were included. Metabolic acidemia (pH <7.05 and base deficit >12 mmol/l) or pH < 7.00 in cord arterial blood at birth. A composite outcome (metabolic acidemia, pH <7 or Apgar score <4), and rates of operative deliveries. Metabolic acidemia occurred in 4.1% in the lactate versus 5.1% in the pH group (relative risk (RR): 0.80; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.48-1.35) and pH <7 in 1.4% versus 2.8% (RR: 0.51, 95% CI: 0.23-1.13). Composite outcome was found in 3.8 versus 4.9%, respectively (RR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.46-1.26). No difference in total operative interventions was found. More cesarean deliveries were performed in the lactate group (16.5 vs. 12.4%; RR: 1.33; 95% CI: 1.02-1.74). When analyzing lactate or pH in fetal scalp blood during second stage of labor neonatal outcomes were comparable. The frequency of total operative interventions was similar but more cesarean deliveries were performed in the lactate group.


Ingrid Stål, Ulla-Britt Wennerholm, Lennart Nordstrom, Lars Ladfors, Eva Wiberg-Itzel. Fetal scalp blood sampling during second stage of labor - analyzing lactate or pH? A secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial. The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine : the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians. 2022 Mar;35(6):1100-1107

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PMID: 32233704

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