Timing of Indicated Late-Preterm and Early-Term Birth

Columbia University, New York, New York, United States
Obstetrics and Gynecology (Impact Factor: 4.37). 08/2011; 118(2 Pt 1):323-33. DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3182255999
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The growing public health awareness of prematurity and its complications has prompted careful evaluation of the timing of deliveries by clinicians and hospitals. Preterm birth is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, and affects more than half a million births in the United States each year. In some situations, however, a late-preterm or early-term birth is the optimal outcome for the mother, child, or both owing to conditions that can result in worse outcomes if pregnancy is allowed to continue. These conditions may be categorized as placental, maternal, or fetal, including conditions such as placenta previa, preeclampsia, and multiple gestations. Some risks associated with early delivery are common to all conditions, including prematurity-related morbidities (eg, respiratory distress syndrome and intraventricular hemorrhage) as well as maternal intrapartum morbidities such as failed induction and cesarean delivery. However, when continuation of the pregnancy is associated with more risks such as hemorrhage, uterine rupture, and stillbirth, preterm delivery maybe indicated. In February 2011, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine held a workshop titled "Timing of Indicated Late Preterm and Early Term Births." The goal of the workshop was to synthesize the available information regarding conditions that may result in medically indicated late-preterm and early-term births to determine the potential risks and benefits of delivery compared with continued pregnancy, determine the optimal gestational age for delivery of affected pregnancies when possible, and inform future research regarding these issues. Based on available data and expert opinion, optimal timing for delivery for specific conditions was determined by consensus.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite long-standing guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that call for avoiding elective births prior to 39 weeks of gestation, elective deliveries make up almost one-third of US births occurring in weeks 36-38. Poor outcomes are more likely for infants born electively before 39 weeks than for those born at 39 weeks. The Perinatal Quality Collaborative of North Carolina (PQCNC) undertook the 39 Weeks Project in 2009-2010 with the aim of reducing the number of early-term elective deliveries in North Carolina hospitals. Participating hospitals (N = 33) provided retrospective data on all early-term deliveries and created new policies, or amended or enforced existing policies, to accomplish the project's goals. Project activities included in-person learning sessions, regional meetings, webinars, electronic newsletters, a secure extranet Web site where participating hospitals could share relevant materials, and individual leadership consultations with hospital teams. Hospitals submitted monthly data to PQCNC, which provided ongoing training and data analysis. Elective deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation decreased 45% over the project period, from 2% to 1.1% of all deliveries. The proportion of elective deliveries among all scheduled early-term deliveries also decreased, from 23.63% to 16.19%. There was an increase in the proportion of patients with documented evidence of medical indications for early delivery, from 62.4% to 88.2%. No data were collected to determine whether outcomes changed for patients whose deliveries were deferred. The project also depended on each hospital to code its own data. The PQCNC's 39 Weeks Project successfully decreased the rate of early-term elective deliveries in participating hospitals.
    North Carolina medical journal 75(3):169-76.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The national movement to eliminate elective delivery at <39 weeks' gestation has engendered much enthusiasm and is a major step forward in the evolution of perinatal patient safety. Our experience with >1 million births in the past 5 years suggests the existence of a number of potential pitfalls that should be considered in policy development, enforcement, and compliance monitoring. Attention to these details will ensure continued patient benefit from these policies without endangering those fetuses in whom early term delivery is warranted medically.
    American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 08/2011; 206(5):387-9. DOI:10.1016/j.ajog.2011.08.017 · 3.97 Impact Factor
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology 01/2012; 119(1):183-4; author reply 184-5. DOI:10.1097/AOG.0b013e31823ee5d7 · 4.37 Impact Factor


Available from

Similar Publications