Method of Delivery and Developmental Outcome At Five Years of Age
A controlled follow-up study examined the impact of delivery method on developmental outcome of the child. The modes of delivery investigated were low forceps delivery (188 infants), midcavity forceps delivery (51 infants), forceps rotation with forceps delivery (57 infants), manual rotation with forceps delivery (67 infants), elective caesarean section (101 infants) and spontaneous delivery (control, 207 infants). Breech presentation (100 infants) was separately compared with the vertex presentation groups. Sample selection controlled for complications during pregnancy and low birthweight and was restricted to married English-speaking mothers. The children were assessed at the age of five years on verbal and non-verbal subtests of a standardized intelligence scale, tests of gross motor coordination, and auditory and visual tests. A full paediatric examination was also performed. Breech presentation children performed less well on tests of balance and fine motor coordination and on visual acuity and stereopsis testing than children who presented in the vertex position. No deleterious effect of delivery method was found. In the absence of other complicating events (like a poor antenatal history, prematurity, and a disorganized home environment) delivery complication constitutes an early risk factor which the growing child is able to overcome.