To test the hypothesis that birth asphyxia has a role in the etiology of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), blood was collected from the umbilical artery (UA) at birth in 28 premature infants of 26 to 29 weeks gestation and analyzed for hydrogen ion concentration [H+], PCO2, standard bicarbonate level, and lactic acid level. The infants were followed up throughout their nursery stay until a diagnosis of IVH could be made or excluded, either by autopsy or clinical findings. Infants with IVH had lower Apgar scores. There were no differences in UA [H+] or bicarbonate or lactic acid levels. However, infants with IVH had a significantly higher UA PCO2. Although the difference appeared relatively small, the increase in PCO2 during labor may have been relatively large. It is concluded that hypercarbia, possibly by increasing cerebral blood flow, may be one important factor in the genesis of IVH.