“ My baby has a brain injury and the cord gas PH was less than 7. Based on this, and some other things in my medical records, I was told I should probably contact an attorney.” This information was told to me by an individual who I spoke with about the challenges her child was facing.


During this conversation, one of the main themes was how a brain injury like this, and subsequent cerebral palsy diagnosis, could happen. If you reading this educational article because your child has a cerebral palsy diagnosis, and the umbilical cord gas PH was low following delivery, you should have a better understanding of some of the critical issues present when a Maryland birth injury lawyer is analyzing cases such as these.




Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE is a term that can sometimes go hand in hand with a cerebral palsy diagnosis. A better way of understanding HIE is to break the words down. Hypoxia can deal with a reduced level of oxygen in the blood. Ischemic is a shortage of blood flowing to the brain. Encephalopathy is the injury to the brain. So, if we put all the words together, when we are describing HIE, we get a reduced level of blood and oxygen flowing to the brain, and a subsequent brain injury.


One way in which doctors can monitor how well a baby is tolerating a vaginal delivery this through the use of the electric fetal heart monitor. This device is used to determine the baby’s heart rate (a normal heart rate is between 120-160 beats per minute). A reduction in the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby can lead to an injury to the brain.




In certain cases, doctors will take a sample of the umbilical cord and do a cord gas reading. Some literature suggests that an umbilical cord gas reading is important in determining whether a hypoxic event happened at birth. Cord gas readings can be hotly contested areas in Maryland birth injury cases due to literature from some medical organizations. For example, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists provides materials by medical professionals dealing with umbilical cord PH numbers and HIE.


Some medical professionals suggest that if a cord PH value is less than 7, then more than likely a hypoxic event did not occur during birth. With that said, if you have a child with a brain injury and the PH is higher than 7, this does not mean that a hypoxic event did not happen. Some questions to be considered are:

  • Was the sample properly drawn?
  • Was the sample properly taken to the lab for analysis?
  • Did intrauterine resuscitation measures take place close to delivery?
  • Was the hypoxic event early in the delivery?
  • What are the readings on the electronic fetal heart monitor?


As the above suggests, a lot of analysis goes into the issues surrounding “ My baby has a brain injury and the cord gas PH was less than 7, how does this happen.”




My baby has a brain injury and the cord gas PH was less than 7. To speak with me further regarding an injury that your child may have suffered during birth, this is what I invite you to do. Pick up the phone and give me a call. I can be reached at 301-850-4832. The call is free and I answer birth injury questions like yours all the time.


Marcus B. Boston, Esq.

Boston Law Group, LLC

2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700

Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815




Marcus Boston is a Maryland medical malpractice attorney who helps people navigate the Maryland childbirth injury and medical malpractice process to get money for their injuries caused by the carelessness of doctors and hospitals. BLG handles cases in Prince George’s County, Baltimore City, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and all other Maryland Counties.