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Promoting quality at birth

22 months
Approved budget:
Professor Peter Stone
Health issue:
Obstetric complications/perinatal care
Proposal type:
Feasibility Study
Lay summary
Brain damage due to low oxygen at birth remains a devastating problem affecting approximately 2 per 1000 live-born infants at term. We propose that it may be possible to reduce the risk of oxygen lack by up to half while reducing surgical interventions, using a five step colour-coded system of clinical rating of fetal heart rate recordings linked to standardised management. Our goal is to test in a randomised controlled trial whether this simple approach can reduce numbers of deliveries with elevated lactate levels in umbilical cord blood. Lactate is produced during low oxygen, and predicts need for resuscitation and brain damage. The feasibility study will allow us to validate the proposed lactate threshold in New Zealand, establish the rate of elevated lactates for deliveries at National Womens' Hospital over 12 months, and the number of deliveries for which electronic fetal heart rate recordings and lactate levels were obtained.