- Background Excess glutamate in the brain is thought to be implicated in the pathophysiology of fetal anoxic brain injury, yet little is known about the mechanisms by which glutamate is regulated in the fetal brain. This study examines whether there are differences between maternal and fetal glutamate concentrations, and whether a correlation between them exists. Methods 10 ml of venous blood was extracted from 87 full-term (> 37 weeks gestation) pregnant women in active labor. Immediately after delivery of the neonate, 10 ml of blood from the umbilical artery and vein was extracted. Samples were analyzed for levels of glutamate, glutamate‐oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT), and glutamate pyruvate transaminase (GPT). Results Fetal blood glutamate concentrations in both the umbilical artery and vein were found to be significantly higher than maternal blood (p < 0.001). Similarly, fetal serum GOT levels in the umbilical artery and vein were found to be significantly higher than maternal GOT levels (p < 0.001). The difference in GPT levels between maternal and fetal serum was not statistically significant. There was no difference in fetal glutamate, GOT or GPT between the umbilical artery and vein. There was an association observed between glutamate levels in maternal blood and glutamate levels in both venous (R = 0.32, p < 0.01) and arterial (R = 0.33, p < 0.05) fetal blood. Conclusions This study demonstrated that higher baseline concentrations of blood glutamate are present in fetal blood compared with maternal blood, and this was associated with elevated GOT, but not GPT levels. An association was observed between maternal and fetal blood glutamate levels.