Are neonatal brain lesions due to intrauterine infection related to mode of delivery?

Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1998 Jan;105(1):121-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1998.tb09363.x.


Studies of antenatal and intrapartum factors involved in the development of cerebral palsy have identified intrauterine infection and chorioamnionitis as high risk situations for white matter damage, especially periventricular leukomalacia. To characterise adverse or protective perinatal factors further, we undertook a multiple regression analysis of selected perinatal events in a population of 110 inborn premature neonates with documented chorioamnionitis. In the total population of 110 infants delivered at between 25 and 32 weeks, 101 (92%) survived the first week of life and two were subsequently excluded. Of the 99 remaining infants, 20 (20%) developed periventricular leukomalacia including 16 (80%) cystic lesions. Forty-five (45%) babies were born by lower segment caesarean section, and for 37 of these, this was carried out before labour. Fetal presentation at delivery was breech in 14 (26%) of those born vaginally and 23 (52%) of those born by lower segment caesarean section (OR 3 [95% CI 1.3-7]). Among predetermined perinatal risk factors for periventricular leukomalacia, logistic regression analysis showed that delivery by caesarean section was associated with a dramatic decrease in the incidence of periventricular leukomalacia (OR 0.15 [95% CI 0.04-0.57]). These preliminary results warrant confirmation and preferably a prospective study before considering caesarean section as a protective perinatal factor of periventricular leukomalacia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breech Presentation
  • Chorioamnionitis / complications*
  • Delivery, Obstetric*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / etiology*
  • Maternal Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious*
  • Risk Factors