Mode of Delivery and Neonatal Outcomes in Preterm, Small-for-Gestational-Age Newborns

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To compare neonatal outcomes by method of delivery in preterm (34 weeks of gestation or prior), small-for-gestational-age (SGA) newborns in a large diverse cohort.


Birth data for 1995–2003 from New York City were linked to hospital discharge data. Data were limited to singleton, liveborn, vertex neonates delivered between 25 and 34 weeks of gestation. Births complicated by known congenital anomalies and birth weight less than 500 g were excluded. Small for gestational age was used as a surrogate for intrauterine growth restriction. Associations between method of delivery and neonatal morbidities were estimated using logistic regression.


Two thousand eight hundred eighty-five SGA neonates meeting study criteria were identified; 42.1% were delivered vaginally, and 57.9% were delivered by cesarean. There was no significant difference in intraventricular hemorrhage, subdural hemorrhage, seizure, or sepsis between the cesarean delivery and vaginal delivery groups. Cesarean delivery compared with vaginal delivery was associated with increased odds of respiratory distress syndrome. The increased odds persisted after controlling for maternal age, parity, ethnicity, education, primary payer, prepregnancy weight, gestational age at delivery, diabetes, and hypertension.


Cesarean delivery was not associated with improved neonatal outcomes in preterm SGA newborns and was associated with an increased risk of respiratory distress syndrome.



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