Elective Delivery Before 39 Weeks: The Risk of Infant Admission to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
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Despite American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines suggesting that non-urgent planned deliveries be scheduled at/after 39 weeks; elective delivery before 39 weeks occurs often in the United States. The objective of this study is to estimate the elective delivery rate between 360/7 and 386/7 weeks gestation and compare NICU admission rates between elective and non-elective deliveries. We conducted a retrospective cohort (n = 1,577) study. Charts were reviewed for all singleton deliveries (2006–2007) between 360/7 and 386/7 weeks gestation taking place at one hospital in NYS to determine delivery status. We computed adjusted relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for elective delivery in relation to NICU admission using robust Poisson regression. 32.8% of all births were elective: 20.7% of vaginal and 55.7% of cesarean births. Elective delivery increased with increasing gestational age. After controlling for potential confounders, infants born via a vaginal elective delivery (RR = 1.40, CI: 1.00, 1.94), an elective cesarean (RR = 2.05, CI: 1.53, 2.76), or a non-elective cesarean (RR = 2.00, CI: 1.50, 2.66) are at significantly increased risk of NICU admission compared to infants born via a non-elective vaginal delivery. Elective delivery before 39 weeks is common and increases the risk of infant NICU admission.
KeywordsElective delivery Non-indicated delivery Non-urgent delivery Neonatal morbidity Scheduled birth
The authors would like to thank Deb Pittinaro, RNC, MS, NP, who aided in data collection. This work was partially supported by a grant from NYS DOH.P2910.
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