Background: The influence of maternal, obstetric and fetal risk factors on the prevalence of birth asphyxia at term in a Swedish urban population.
Objective: To investigate risk factors for Apgar score-defined birth asphyxia, birth asphyxia with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and birth asphyxia-related death/disability.
Material and methods: Retrospective case-control study in term neonates with birth asphyxia defined as Apgar score < 7 at 5 min. Cases originating from nonasphyctic causes (e.g. infection, maternal sedation) were excluded. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy was diagnosed according to criteria by Sarnat. Maternal, obstetric and fetal risk factors were registered in 225 cases of birth asphyxia diagnosed in 42 203 live births occurring in the urban Swedish population studied. A matched control group was used for statistical evaluation.
Results: Asphyxia was associated with single civil status, OR = 7.1 (95%CI 2.0, 27.6); intrauterine meconium release, OR = 4.1 (95%CI 1.8, 9.8); operative delivery, OR = 8.7 (95%CI 3.4, 24.6); breech delivery, OR = 20.3 (95%CI 3.0, 416.5); oxytocin augmentation, OR = 2.9 (95%CI 1.4, 6.3); cord complication, OR = 15.8 (95%CI 2.1, 341.5); external compression to assist delivery OR = 6.2 (95%CI 1.3, 45.7); and cardiotocography score, OR = 0.5 (95%CI 0.4, 0.6). Normal fetal heart rate variability, OR = 0.4 (95%CI 0.2, 0.6), repeated late decelerations irrespective of amplitude or repeated variable decelerations, OR = 29.4 (95%CI 5.7, 540.8) or occasional late or variable decelerations, OR = 2.2 (95%CI 1.3, 3.8), and no accelerations, OR = 5.2 (95%CI 2.0, 16.4), were associated with asphyxia. Operative or instrumental delivery was more common in all three asphyxia groups compared with controls. Leanness was a risk factor for asphyxia and for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Maternal age, smoking and illnesses, time of delivery (day/night, seasonal) and previous caesarean section were not associated with birth asphyxia.
Conclusions: An association between neonatal asphyxia and cardiotocography parameters, intrauterine meconium release, operative delivery, breech delivery, single civil status, oxytocin augmentation, cord complication, external compression to assist delivery and neonatal leanness was found. Abnormal fetal heart rate variability, repeated late decelerations irrespective of amplitude or repeated variable decelerations, occasional late or variable decelerations and no accelerations were associated with asphyxia.