Oxygen Supply to the Fetus and Fetal Hypoxemia

  • A. M. Rudolph


The fetus receives its oxygen supply across the placenta, to which oxygen is delivered by maternal blood. The amount of oxygen delivered to the placental site is determined by the magnitude of blood flow and the oxygen content of uterine arterial blood. Transfer of oxygen from maternal to fetal blood is influenced by the diffusion gradient for oxygen between the maternal uterine blood and fetal umbilical blood. The diffusion gradient is affected by the thickness of the placental tissues separating the uterine and umbilical bloods and the relationship of arteriovenous flow patterns in the uterine and umbilical circulations. Uptake of oxygen by the fetus at the placental site is related to umbilical-placental blood flow and oxygen content of umbilical venous blood, or
$$ fetak\,{O_2}\,delivery = {\dot{Q}_{{UV}}} \times {\dot{C}_{{UV{O_2}}}} $$
where Inline 1\( {\dot{Q}_{{UV}}} \)is umbilical-placental blood flow and Inline 2\( {\dot{C}_{{UV{O_2}}}} \) umbilical venous oxygen content.


Oxygen Delivery Fetal Blood Umbilical Blood Fetal Lamb Uterine Blood Flow 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

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  • A. M. Rudolph

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