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Ir Med J. 2005 Jun;98(6):170-2.

Admission to neonatal intensive care with respiratory morbidity following 'term' elective caesarean section.

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  • 1School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queens University, Belfast.


Delaying the timing of elective caesarean section (ELCS) from 37/38 weeks to 39/40 weeks reduces the risk of respiratory morbidity in otherwise healthy neonates. The aims of this study were to clarify the number and clinical details of term infants delivered by ELCS who were admitted to neonatal intensive care (NIC) from 1st April 2001 to 31st March 2002 in Northern Ireland, to record the level of care required by these infants and to identify infants who were diagnosed with transient tachypnoea of the newborn (TTN) and/or Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). Two hundred and ten (8%) of babies born by ELCS were admitted to NIC. Term infants delivered by ELCS used 343 days of level 1 & 2 care with 230 (68%) of these days being used by infants with RDS/TTN (n=105) the majority of whom were delivered at 37/38 weeks. Definitions of 'term' and clinical indications for ELCS urgently need to be debated to avoid unnecessary morbidity following ELCS in so called 'term' infants.

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