Outcome of very-low-birth-weight infants: does antepartum versus neonatal referral have a better impact on mortality, morbidity, or long-term outcome?

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1989 Mar;160(3):539-45. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(89)80022-5.


To evaluate the effect of aggressive intrapartum and early neonatal resuscitation on perinatal mortality, neonatal morbidity, and long-term outcome, we evaluated two groups of low-birth-weight infants who received different intrapartum and early neonatal care. One group of infants was delivered at a university-based regional perinatal center offering both high-risk obstetric and tertiary neonatal care. The second population consisted of infants from five community hospitals with level I nurseries. These two groups were selected because they differed in the ability to provide intrapartum and early neonatal care and because a total base population could be evaluated. During the 4-year study period, 174 infants with birth weights of 500 to 1499 gm were delivered at the university center and 297 infants were delivered at the community hospitals. At the university center, there was a significant reduction in fetal deaths, a delay in the time of neonatal deaths, and a reduction in hyaline membrane disease. Neonatal mortality rates at the university center were not reduced, and the incidence of sequelae was not affected. These data suggest that for the smallest infant, intrapartum and immediate neonatal care at a tertiary center may decrease fetal mortality and neonatal morbidity rates. Neonatal mortality and long-term outcome, however, may be less affected.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child Development
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight / growth & development*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Morbidity*
  • Postnatal Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Time Factors