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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 June 2012

Imperial College School of Medicine and NHS Healthcare Trust, Queen Charlotte's Hospital, London
Imperial College School of Medicine and NHS Healthcare Trust, Queen Charlotte's Hospital, London
Felicity Plaat, Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust, Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 0HS, United Kingdom. Email:


Hypoxia in pregnancy is rare, however the anatomical and physiological changes associated with pregnancy may exacerbate hypoxia and hypoxaemia arising from pathological processes.

In this review we seek to briefly outline the well recognised changes to the maternal airway and respiratory anatomy and physiology. We will discuss a hierarchical approach to the tests used in differential diagnoses, summarise the physical principles behind commonly used tests and identify pitfalls and considerations in their use in the obstetric population. Some of the more commonly seen pathological states that may cause hypoxia in pregnancy will be discussed.

Review Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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