Objective: We sought to evaluate number and timing of elective cesarean sections at term and to assess perinatal outcome associated with this timing.
Study design: We conducted a recent retrospective cohort study including all elective cesarean sections of singleton pregnancies at term (n = 20,973) with neonatal follow-up. Primary outcome was defined as a composite of neonatal mortality and morbidity.
Results: More than half of the neonates were born at <39 weeks of gestation, and they were at significantly higher risk for the composite primary outcome than neonates born thereafter. The absolute risks were 20.6% and 12.5% for birth at <38 and 39 weeks, respectively, as compared to 9.5% for neonates born > or = 39 weeks. The corresponding adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were 2.4 (2.1-2.8) and 1.4 (1.2-1.5), respectively.
Conclusion: More than 50% of the elective cesarean sections are applied at <39 weeks, thus jeopardizing neonatal outcome.
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