Antenatal Periviability Counseling and Decision Making: A Retrospective Examination by the Investigating Neonatal Decisions for Extremely Early Deliveries Study Group

Am J Perinatol. 2020 Jan;37(2):184-195. doi: 10.1055/s-0039-1694792. Epub 2019 Aug 22.


Objective: To describe periviability counseling practices and decision making.

Study design: This is a retrospective review of mothers and newborns delivering between 22 and 24 completed weeks from 2011 to 2015 at six U.S. centers. Maternal and fetal/neonatal clinical and maternal sociodemographic data from medical records and geocoded sociodemographic information were collected. Separate analyses examined characteristics surrounding receiving neonatology consultation; planning neonatal resuscitation; and centers' planned resuscitation rates.

Results: Neonatology consultations were documented for 40, 63, and 72% of 498 mothers delivering at 22, 23, and 24 weeks, respectively. Consult versus no-consult mothers had longer median admission-to-delivery intervals (58.7 vs. 8.7 h, p < 0.001). Consultations were seen more frequently when parental decision making was evident. In total, 76% of mothers had neonatal resuscitation planned. Resuscitation versus no-resuscitation newborns had higher mean gestational ages (24.0 vs. 22.9 weeks, p < 0.001) and birthweights (618 vs. 469 g, p < 0.001). Planned resuscitation rates differed at higher (HR) versus lower (LR) rate centers at 22 (43 vs. 7%, p < 0.001) and 23 (85 vs. 58%, p < 0.001) weeks. HR versus LR centers' populations had more socioeconomic hardship markers but fewer social work consultations (odds ratio: 0.31; confidence interval: 0.15-0.59, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Areas requiring improvement included delivery/content of neonatology consultations, social work support, consideration of centers' patient populations, and opportunities for shared decisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Counseling*
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Fetal Viability*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Extremely Premature*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mothers
  • Neonatology
  • Patient Care Team
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Racial Groups
  • Resuscitation Orders*
  • Retrospective Studies