Despite a growing body of evidence demonstrating the value of universal umbilical cord blood gas analysis (UCBGA), there remains reluctance in some maternity units to adopt universal testing.

Identify perceived barriers and benefits of universal UCBGA.

Medical and midwifery staff involved in intrapartum care at four level two maternity units (one metropolitan and three regional) completed questionnaires evaluating attitudes to UCBGA. Questionnaires included 13 statements with responses ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree and background demographic data.

Most respondents considered UCBGA beneficial to perinatal care (n = 72; 67.3%), with only nine individuals (8.4%) believing UCBGA had no place in perinatal care. The majority of respondents considered benefits of UCBGA to include being an effective and objective marker of neonatal status (n = 64; 59.8%), as well as playing a role in medicolegal issues (n = 74; 69.2%) and audit and teaching (n = 64; 59.8%). Respondents considered that barriers to universal UCBGA introduction included insufficient time following delivery, increased workload and encroachment of technology into birth.

The majority of respondents indicated support for UCBGA. Information derived from this study may be useful in identifying and resolving concerns prior to the introduction of UCBGA. Further, it could be useful in the preparation of education and implementation packages necessary for introduction of UCBGA.