Objective: We performed neurodevelopmental assessment in children born with an umbilical artery pH < 7.
Study design: All infants born with an umbilical artery pH < 7 from a 19-month period were retrieved from the obstetric database. Obstetric, neonatal, and pediatric records were reviewed. At an age of 1 to 3 years, children were visited at home for semi-structured questioning of the mother and a Denver Developmental Screening Test of the child.
Results: During the study period 1614 umbilical artery pH measurements were entered in the database. Thirty (1.9%) were < 7. From this group 23 infants were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, and 8 of them required intubation. Twenty-eight children survived the neonatal period. Three children experienced an episode of mild hypertonia. One child had a mild motor developmental delay.
Conclusion: Babies born with an umbilical artery pH < 7 are at greater risk to experience considerable short-term morbidity. Those who leave the neonatal intensive care unit without major problems have good outcomes, and pessimism in counseling their parents in unwarranted.