Vol 82, No 8 (2011)

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Neonatal outcome after cesarean section

Maria Katarzyna Kornacka, Katarzyna Kufel
Ginekol Pol 2011;82(8).


Cesarean section is the most commonly performed procedure all over the world. Both American and European data reveal constant and steady increase of pregnancies resolved by a cesarean section. The reasons include: growing number of medical indications or requests of the pregnant women. Regardless of the fact that elective cesarean section decreases the risk of intrauterine hypoxia, meconium aspiration and injury during labor, it remains a significant risk factor for respiratory failure in the course of transient tachypnea of the newborn, infant respiratory distress syndrome and pulmonary hypertension, both for term and late preterm infants. As a consequence, the infant requires a prolonged stay in the intensive care unit, together with advanced and often expensive medical procedures such as mechanical (often high-frequency) ventilation, nitric oxide therapy and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. The American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the European Association of Perinatal Medicine recommend for a cesarean section due to medical indications to be performed after 39 weeks gestation, preferably after uterine contractions started, and elective cesarean section, particularly if there are indications to finish the pregnancy before 39 weeks gestation, after lung maturity has been assessed (in other case steroids ought to be administered prenatally to mature the lung muscles). That includes also cases of elective cesarean sections performed due to previous cesarean sections , which are the most frequent reasons for repeating procedure. The recommendations also restrict the indications for cesarean section in case of significant prematurity, what in turn is connected with more restricted indications for resuscitation of extremely premature infants and babies with extremely low birth weight.

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