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Early Elective C-Sections Produce Complications
Date:1/7/2009

Babies delivered at 37 weeks have double the troubles of those born at 39 weeks,,,,

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Women having an elective repeat C-section should wait until they're at least 39 weeks into their pregnancy to have the baby, if there are no medical issues with the mother or baby, a new study found.

Delivering just two weeks earlier doubles the risk that the baby will have problems, such as trouble breathing, infection and low blood sugar, according to the study.

The findings buttress recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

"About 36 percent of women were delivered prior to 39 weeks, electively by Caesarean," said the study's lead author, Dr. Alan T.N. Tita, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and an epidemiologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "These early deliveries were associated with adverse outcomes. There was a two-fold increase in morbidity in those delivered at 37 weeks compared to women delivered at 39 weeks."

Results of the study are published in the Jan. 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Once a woman has had a Caesarean delivery, she and her doctor may decide to perform an "elective" C-section for subsequent births. The recommendation is that any such delivery should occur at 39 weeks or later if there are no medical concerns for the mother or baby. If a woman wants to deliver before 39 weeks, ACOG recommends that amniocentesis be performed to assess lung maturity in the baby.

The new study included 13,258 women who underwent elective repeat Caesarean deliveries at one of 19 U.S. academic medical centers. All of the sites are part of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network.

Of the elective C-sections, 35.8 percent were performed before 39 weeks of gestation, wit
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