Oxygen saturation in healthy newborn infants immediately after birth measured by pulse oximetry

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2002 Apr;266(2):105-7. doi: 10.1007/s00404-001-0272-5.


Pre- and postductal arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2) rates were measured in 50 healthy vaginally delivered newborn infants to establish reference values of SpO2 rates immediately after birth. We compared the SpO2 values in the pre- and postductal areas and assessed the influence of oxitocin and analgetics applied during delivery. Fifty neonates were examined by the 2nd minute (min) of life using Nellcor N-3000 pulse oximeters on the right hand and foot. Measurements were carried out until a SpO2 of 95% was achieved. Heart rates were registered simultaneously. Two min after birth the mean preductal SpO2 was 73% (44-95%) and 67% (34-93%) in the postductal region. SpO2 rates of > 95% were reached after 12 min (2-55 min) preductally and after 14 min (3-55 min) postductally. Our results demonstrate that it takes 12-14 min for healthy neonates to reach an oxygen saturation of 95% prerespectively postductal, in some cases even 55 min. All neonates were in good clinical condition and didn't require any supplemental oxygen. Additionally, we were able to show that epidural anaesthesia (PDA) during delivery increases the heart rate of the newborn infant.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Anesthesia
  • Anesthesia, Epidural
  • Anesthesia, Obstetrical
  • Arteries
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn / blood*
  • Infant, Newborn / physiology
  • Male
  • Oximetry*
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Parturition*
  • Pentazocine


  • Adjuvants, Anesthesia
  • Pentazocine
  • Oxygen