Article

Apgar Score of Zero at Five Minutes and Neonatal Seizures or Serious Neurologic Dysfunction in Relation to Birth Setting.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York. Electronic address: .
American journal of obstetrics and gynecology (Impact Factor: 3.97). 06/2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2013.06.025
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To examine the occurrence of 5-minute Apgar scores of zero and seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction for four groups by birth setting and birth attendant (hospital physician, hospital midwife, free-standing birth center midwife, and home midwife) in the United States from 2007-2010.
Data from the United States Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Health Statistics birth certificate data files were used to assess deliveries by physicians and midwives in and out of the hospital for the 4-year period from 2007-2010 for singleton term births (≥37 weeks gestation) and ≥2,500 grams. Five-minute Apgar scores of zero and neonatal seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction were analyzed for four groups by birth setting and birth attendant (hospital physician, hospital midwife, free-standing birth center midwife, and home midwife).
Home births (RR 10.55) and births in free-standing birth centers (RR 3.56) attended by midwives had a significantly higher risk of a 5-minute Apgar score of zero (p<.0001) than hospital births attended by physicians or midwives. Home births (RR 3.80) and births in free-standing birth centers attended by midwives (RR 1.88) had a significantly higher risk of neonatal seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction (p<.0001) than hospital births attended by physicians or midwives.
The increased risk of 5-minute Apgar score of zero and seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction of out-of-hospital births should be disclosed by obstetric practitioners to women who express an interest in out-of-hospital birth. Physicians should address patients' motivations for out-of-hospital delivery by continuously improving safe and compassionate care of pregnant, fetal, and neonatal patients in the hospital setting.

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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Background: The Apgar score is used worldwide to assess the newborn infant shortly after birth. Apgar scores, including mean scores and those with high cut-off scores, have been used to support claims that planned home birth is as safe as hospital birth. The purpose of this study was to determine the distribution of 5 min Apgar scores among different birth settings and providers in the USA. Methods: We obtained data from the National Center for Health Statistics of the US Centers for Disease Control birth certificate data for 2007-2010 for all singleton, term births of infants weighing ≥2500 g (n=13,830,531). Patients were then grouped into six categories by birth setting and birth attendant: hospital-based physician, hospital-based midwife, freestanding birth center with either certified nurse midwife and/or other midwife, and home-based delivery with either certified nurse midwife or other midwife. The distribution of each Apgar score from 0 to 10 was assessed for each group. Results: Newborns delivered by other midwives or certified nurse midwives (CNMs) in a birthing center or at home had a significantly higher likelihood of a 5 min maximum Apgar score of 10 than those delivered in a hospital [52.63% in birthing centers, odds ratio (OR) 29.19, 95% confidence interval (CI): 28.29-30.06, and 52.44% at home, OR 28.95, 95% CI: 28.40-29.50; CNMs: 16.43% in birthing centers, OR 5.16, 95% CI: 4.99-5.34, and 36.9% at home births, OR 15.29, 95% CI: 14.85-15.73]. Conclusions: Our study shows an inexplicable bias of high 5 min Apgar scores of 10 in home or birthing center deliveries. Midwives delivering at home or in birthing centers assigned a significantly higher proportion of Apgar scores of 10 when compared to midwives or physicians delivering in the hospital. Studies that have claimed the safety of out-of-hospital deliveries by using higher mean or high cut-off 5 min Apgar scores and reviews based on these studies should be treated with skepticism by obstetricians and midwives, by pregnant women, and by policy makers. The continued use of studies using higher mean or high cut-off 5 min Apgar scores, and a bias of high Apgar score, to advocate the safety of home births is inappropriate.
    Journal of Perinatal Medicine 04/2014; · 1.43 Impact Factor
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    American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 11/2013; · 3.97 Impact Factor
  • American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 11/2013; · 3.97 Impact Factor

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