Objective: To identify prenatal and perinatal risk and protective factors for grade III and IV intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) in 4795 singleton infants (weight, < or = 1500 g).
Method: Prenatal and perinatal risk and protective factors for ICH were examined initially by univariate analysis and adjusted for year of birth, followed by multivariate logistic regression analysis that adjusted simultaneously for the effects of year of birth and prenatal and perinatal characteristics.
Setting: Seven tertiary care neonatal-perinatal centers.
Results: By univariate analysis, African-American race, prenatal care, older maternal age, hypertension or preeclampsia, antenatal steroid administration, cesarean section delivery, increasing birth weight, increasing gestational age, and female gender of the infant were protective prenatal or perinatal factors. Antepartum hemorrhage, the presence of labor, and breech presentation were perinatal factors that were associated with an increased risk of ICH. By using staged logistic regression, a model of combined prenatal and perinatal characteristics that influenced grade III and IV ICH was developed. Significant protective factors against ICH included a complete course of antenatal steroid therapy, African-American maternal race, female gender of the infant, hypertension or preeclampsia with no antepartum hemorrhage, increasing gestational age, and increasing birth weight.
Conclusion: Antenatal steroid administration is a therapeutic intervention that is associated with a decreased risk for neonatal grade III and IV ICH.