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Biol Neonate. 1999 May;75(5):294-9.

Leukocyte counts in relation to the method of delivery during the first five days of life.

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Division of Neonatal Intensive Care, Policlinico San Matteo, IRCCS, and University of Pavia, Italy.


The goal of the present study was to evaluate total and differential leukocyte counts during the first 5 days of life in relation to the method of delivery. We included 203 healthy term infants; of these, 114 were born by vaginal delivery, and 89 by elective cesarean section. Total and differential leukocyte counts were evaluated at the following intervals: 0-6, 7-12, 13-24, 25-48, 49-72, 73-96, and 97-120 h after birth. The cord serum cortisol level was measured as an indicator of the degree of delivery-related stress. Mean leukocyte and neutrophil counts were higher in infants born by vaginal delivery in cord blood and up to 12 h of life. No significant differences were observed in the immature: total neutrophil ratios between the two groups of infants. The cord serum cortisol level was higher in vaginally delivered infants. A significant correlation was found between cortisol and leukocyte, neutrophil, or lymphocyte counts. The method of delivery produces significantly different total leukocyte and neutrophil counts during the first 12 h after birth; after this time, there appears to be no more variation of leukocyte counts during the first 5 days of life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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