To determine if a policy recommending administration of terbutaline prior to emergency caesarean section improved arterial umbilical cord pH.
Materials and Methods
This was a prospective audit between February 2018 and June 2019 among women who underwent a category one or two caesarean section. Neonatal cord gas results and perinatal outcomes were compared before and after the introduction of a policy recommending subcutaneous terbutaline prior to emergency caesarean section.
Among 423 women in the pre‐policy change cohort and 253 post‐policy change, there was no difference in arterial cord pH (median pH = 7.24 before the policy and median pH = 7.24 after the policy was introduced, P = 0.88). There was no statistically significant difference in any perinatal outcome, apart from the median arterial cord lactate which was higher in the post‐treatment group (4.2 mmol/L vs 3.9 mmol/L, P = 0.006). Maternal heart rate was higher (median 110 vs 95, P < 0.0001) in the post‐treatment group. Breastfeeding was more common in the post‐treatment group (99% vs 95%, P = 0.005). There was no difference in estimated blood loss or rate of post‐partum haemorrhage. A post hoc analysis according to treatment received, limited to caesarean section when the indication was suspected fetal compromise, demonstrated that among women who received terbutaline the rate of low pH (<7.1) was 3.8% (5/130) when terbutaline was given, compared with 6.6% (18/272) when terbutaline was not given (χ21 = 1.3, P = 0.26). Conclusion Changing our labour ward policy to recommending terbutaline prior to all category one and category two caesarean sections did not change arterial cord pH.