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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1980 Feb;10(2):125-36.

The effect of acute maternal hypoxia on fetal oxygenation and the umbilical circulation in the sheep.


The mean oxygen consumption was 8.4 +/- 1.9 ml/min/kg in the near-term fetal sheep. In response to acute maternal hypoxia fetal O2 consumption decreased to lower than 50% of the control values. The decrease was rapidly instituted, proportional to the degree of hypoxia, sustained for up to 47 min and stable over this period. With increasing duration of hypoxia, a progressive metabolic acidosis developed. Recovery of oxygen consumption occurred rapidly after hypoxia ceased, though the acidosis was not resolved until 2 h later. Umbilical blood flow was maintained during maternal hypoxia and umbilical arterial and venous pressures increased. A fetal bradycardia invariably accompanied the hypoxia.

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