OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between maternal body mass index (BMI) and umbilical cord acid-base status at the time of cesarean delivery.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective multicenter cohort study using data from the Cesarean Section Registry of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network. Women were included if they delivered a live, nonanomalous singleton at 37–41 weeks of gestation by prelabor cesarean under spinal anesthesia. We excluded women with diagnoses that might be associated with uteroplacental insufficiency. Body mass index at delivery was examined both as a continuous and categorical exposure, and acid-base status was based on cord arterial pH and base deficit.
RESULTS: There were 5,742 mother–neonate pairs who met criteria for analysis. Among possible confounders (including sociodemographic variables, number of previous uterine incisions, diabetes, hematocrit, neonatal gender, and birth weight), African American race, birth weight, parity, and smoking status were significantly associated with both BMI and acid-base parameters. Adjusted for those four factors, with increasing BMI category (less than 25, 25–29.9, 30–34.9, 35–39.9, and 40 or higher), mean pH decreased from 7.25 to 7.22 (P<.001), proportion with pH less than 7.1 increased from 3.5% to 7.7% (P=.011), mean base deficit increased from 4.01 mmol/L to 4.83 mmol/L (P=.030), and proportion with base deficit of 12 mmol/L or more increased from 0.6% to 4.7% (P=.003). When BMI was analyzed continuously and adjusted for these confounders, for every 10-unit increase in BMI, cord arterial pH decreased by 0.01 (P<.001) and base deficit increased by 0.26 mmol/L (P=.005).
CONCLUSION: For women undergoing nonemergent prelabor cesarean delivery under spinal anesthesia, fetal pH declines and base deficit rises as maternal BMI increases.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II