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Keywords:

  • fetal acid-base status;
  • fetal cerebral oxygenation;
  • labor management;
  • maternal hyperventilation;
  • placental oxygen transfer

Abstract

During pregnancy, and especially during labor, the maternal carbon dioxide level declines considerably. Maternal carbon dioxide levels show a close relation with fetal carbon dioxide levels. The latter affects fetal cerebral oxygenation by regulating cerebral blood flow and shifting the oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve. In addition, maternal hypocapnia appears to impair placental oxygen transfer. Thus, maternal hyperventilation may interfere with optimal fetal cerebral oxygenation. Here, we provide a brief overview of the literature relevant to this issue.