The effect of mode of delivery on the mortality and morbidity of 26- to 32-week neonates was studied. Five hundred six consecutive deliveries at 26 to 32 weeks' gestation were reviewed. The populations were divided into high-risk and low-risk neonates by evaluation of antepartum variables known to increase neonatal risk, ie, abruptio placenta. One hundred ninety-six infants were classified as low risk. In this group, 124 vaginal and 72 cesarean section deliveries were compared using demographic, peripartum, and neonatal variables. Cesarean delivery was associated with highly significant maternal morbidity, including a 30% incidence of vertical uterine incision. No difference in neonatal mortality was shown. Cesarean delivery was associated with lower one-minute Apgar scores and a greater incidence and severity of hyaline membrane disease. No neonatal differences were shown in the incidence of trauma, intraventricular hemorrhage, or seizures. This study does not support cesarean delivery of all tiny neonates.
© 1986 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists