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December 1, 1956


Author Affiliations

San Francisco

From the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California Medical Center. Dr. Benson is now at the University of Oregon Medical School, Portland, Ore.

JAMA. 1956;162(14):1289-1293. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970310017004

• The gross fetal mortality associated with cesarean sections ranged from 4.5 to 15.6% in 13 institutions. The causes of death and indications for sections have been reviewed in detail for the last 16 years, covering 569 sections, at University of California Medical Center. The maternal mortality has been reduced by such factors as briefer trials of labor, blood transfusion, and new surgical techniques, but the fetal mortality has not shown corresponding improvement. Erythroblastosis, congenital anomalies, and atelectasis with its complications accounted for many deaths occurring within an hour after birth. Prematurity, however, is the largest single contributing factor to the high mortality rate. An accurate appraisal of arrival at term is important in order that a premature infant will not be delivered by ineptly timed and purely elective section.