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Fetal blood testing

Fetal blood testing

Overview

Fetal blood testing is performed during labor to test the blood pH of the baby which can determine its well-being during delivery. A small puncture is made in the scalp and fetal blood droplets are collected in a thin glass tube. Testing the scalp pH can help your doctor decide if your fetus is getting enough oxygen during labor. This helps determine if your baby is healthy enough to continue labor, or if a forceps delivery or cesarean delivery might be the best route of birth.

Review Date 6/28/2018

Updated by: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.