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Database - Alliance francophone pour l'accouchement respecté (AFAR)

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Created on : 10 Mar 2004
Modified on : 02 Dec 2007

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Bibliographical entry (without author) :

[Gentle obstetrical management for very early preterm deliveries] Gynakol Geburtshilfliche Rundsch. 2004;44(1):10-18.

Author(s) :

Schneider H.

Year of publication :


URL(s) :…

Résumé (français)  :

Abstract (English)  :

OBJECTIVE: In view of the general improvement in survival of very early preterm newborns the contribution of the obstetrical management to this development has been studied. METHODS: A comprehensive literature search was performed concentrating on prospective randomised clinical trials, meta-analyses and review articles dealing with different aspects of the obstetrical management of very early preterm deliveries which were published during the last 10 years. RESULTS: The benefit of antepartal administration of glucocorticoids to the mother for stimulation of pulmonary maturity of the fetus and the overall clinical condition of the preterm newborn at birth has been proven by several prospective randomised studies. In contrast, there is only indirect evidence for the benefit of an early transfer of these pregnancies to a perinatal centre. The benefit of a short-term prolongation of pregnancy by the administration of tocolytics is evident in the context of glucocorticoid administration for pulmonary maturity. There is no clear evidence for the benefit of long-term tocolytic treatment of preterm labour. Various prospective randomised trials comparing delivery by primary or elective caesarean section with vaginal birth combined with selective section as indicated by a deterioration of the condition of the fetus or the mother during the first or second stage of labour have clearly shown increased maternal morbidity in the elective caesarean section group. The expected advantage for the condition of the newborn could not be shown. In a meta-analysis of 6 such trials, the problem of recruiting participants was stressed. All 6 trials had to be terminated before the calculated number of study participants had been recruited. CONCLUSION: For planned early preterm delivery a transfer of the mother into perinatal centre is recommended for pregnancies beyond 22 0/7 weeks. Starting at 24 0/7 weeks, glucocorticoids should be administered. Between 24 0/7 and 24 6/7 weeks, survival chances remain clearly at less than 50%, and up to 50% of those surviving develop moderate to severe handicaps. Obstetrical management, in particular a decision for caesarean section due to fetal indication, must be individualised taking into account the wishes of the parents. Beyond 25 0/7 weeks, newborn survival should be given priority, and although clear evidence for the optimal mode of delivery is missing in cases of spontaneous labour leading to rapid dilatation of the cervix, with a normal singleton cephalic fetus, a vaginal delivery may be attempted. If under close supervision of labour there are signs of fetal or maternal deterioration, a caesarean section should be performed without delay. With breech presentation as well as twins or multiple fetuses there is a general trend towards primary caesarean section. In the absence of spontaneous labour and with an unripe cervix, elective caesarean section is considered as the method of choice for the delivery of the early preterm fetus.

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Keywords :

➡ c-section/caesarean ; evidence-based medicine/midwifery ; premature baby ; morbidity

Author of this record :

Cécile Loup — 10 Mar 2004

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