The researchers looked at whether an infant who was delivered at 37 weeks later died or was diagnosed with a number of conditions, including respiratory distress syndrome and/or transient tachypnea of the newborn, newborn sepsis, seizures, necrotizing entercolitis, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, required ventilator support within 24 hours of birth, had umbilical cord arterial pH (a measure of oxygenation) below 7.0, an Apgar score at five minutes of three or below, was admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit or required prolonged hospitalization.
Of the 13,258 women who had elective repeat cesarean sections, as many as 35.8 percent were delivered before 39 weeks. Babies born at 37 weeks, were two times more likely to suffer with conditions common to babies born too soon, and at 38 weeks, they were one and a half times more likely.
Tita said these findings, along with other studies, underscore the importance of not delivering a baby before 39 weeks for the sake of convenience.
"Unfortunately, these early deliveries are associated with a preventable increase in neonatal morbidity and NICU admissions, which carry a high personal and economic cost. These findings support recommendations to delay elective delivery until 39 weeks gestation and should be helpful in counseling women on the necessity of waiting to deliver."
|Contact: Jennifer Lollar|
University of Alabama at Birmingham