Elective cesarean section: its impact on neonatal respiratory outcome

Clin Perinatol. 2008 Jun;35(2):373-93, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.clp.2008.03.006.


Physiologic events in the last few weeks of pregnancy coupled with the onset of spontaneous labor are accompanied by changes in the hormonal milieu of the fetus and its mother, resulting in preparation of the fetus for neonatal transition. Rapid clearance of fetal lung fluid is a key part of these changes, and is mediated in large part by transepithelial sodium reabsorption through amiloride-sensitive sodium channels in the alveolar epithelial cells, with only a limited contribution from mechanical factors and Starling forces. This article discusses the respiratory morbidity associated with elective cesarean section, the physiologic mechanisms underlying fetal lung fluid absorption, and potential strategies for facilitating neonatal transition when infants are delivered by elective cesarean section before the onset of spontaneous labor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Body Fluids / metabolism
  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects*
  • Cesarean Section / trends
  • Choice Behavior
  • Elective Surgical Procedures*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung / embryology
  • Pregnancy
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / etiology*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / prevention & control