EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF PERINATAL MEDICINE (EAPM) Position statement: Use of appropriate terminology for situations related to inadequate fetal oxygenation in labor

Christophe Vayssière, Branka Yli, Diogo Ayres-de-Campos*, Austin Ugwumadu, Lola Loussert, Lena Hellström-Westas, Susanna Timonen, Christiane Schwarz, Inês Nunes, Georges Emmanuel Roth

*Corresponding author for this work


In high-resource countries, adverse perinatal outcomes are currently rare in term, non-malformed fetuses, undergoing labor, but they remain a leading cause of medico-legal dispute. Precise terminology is important to describe situations related to inadequate fetal oxygenation in labor, to ensure appropriate communication between healthcare professionals and adequate transmission of information to parents. This position statement provides consensus definitions from European perinatologists and midwives regarding the most appropriate terminology to describe situations related to inadequate fetal oxygenation in labor: suspected fetal hypoxia, severe newborn acidemia, newborn metabolic acidosis, and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. It also identifies terms that are imprecise or nonspecific to this situation, and should therefore be avoided by healthcare professionals: fetal well-being, fetal stress, fetal distress, non-reassuring fetal state, and birth asphyxia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Pages (from-to)55-57
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 03.2024

Research Areas and Centers

  • Health Sciences

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-21 Gynaecology and Obstetrics
  • 205-02 Public Health, Health Services Research and Social Medicine

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