Research Article

Iatrogenic hyponatraemia of the newborn due to maternal fluid overload: a prospective study.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 283 doi: (Published 05 September 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;283:639
  1. W O Tarnow-Mordi,
  2. J C Shaw,
  3. D Liu,
  4. D A Gardner,
  5. F V Flynn


    Over five weeks 136 out of 246 deliveries were studied. Maternal plasma sodium concentrations were normal at admission. At delivery no significant difference was found between maternal and infant cord plasma sodium concentrations. Twenty-four of the 41 mothers who had received only oral fluids during labour had infants whose cord plasma sodium concentrations were normal. Of the 95 mothers who had been given intravenous fluids, however, only 14 infants with normal plasma sodium concentrations, 31 had a concentrations of 130 mmol (mEq)/1 or less and nine of these had a concentration of 125 mmol/1 or less. There was a highly significant inverse relation between cord plasma sodium concentration and rate of fluid administration, suggesting that hyponatraemia was due to intravenous treatment with predominantly sodium-free solutions. Endogenous antidiuretic activity probably increases during labour, and synthetic oxytocin in large doses has been shown to have an antidiuretic effect. The dose used in this study did not appear to have such an effect. Glucose solutions are often used as a vehicle for oxytocin; 83% of all fluid intake in this study was 5% or 10% glucose in water. Fluid balance in labour should be supervised closely, and oxytocin should be given in a more concentrated solution.