We studied the effects of cesarean section on neonatal mortality for breech infants and low-birth weight vertex infants using data from the Georgia neonatal surveillance network on 392,241 singleton deliveries between 1974 and 1978. The risk of neonatal death for breech infants weighing 4,000 g or less delivered vaginally was significantly higher than the risk for those delivered by cesarean section. The lower the birth weight, the higher the risk for a vaginal breech delivery. For breech infants weighing 1,000 to 2,500 g, the risk was almost 2 1/2 times greater for a vaginal delivery v a cesarean delivery. The best outcome for high-risk vertex infants weighing 1,000 to 1,500 g was for those delivered by cesarean section in a tertiary perinatal center. An increase in the cesarean section rate may be associated with increased neonatal survival; however, the benefits must be weighed against the costs of an increased maternal mortality and morbidity.
Sachs BP, McCarthy BJ, Rubin G, Burton A, Terry J, Tyler CW. Cesarean Section: Risk and Benefits for Mother and Fetus. JAMA. 1983;250(16):2157–2159. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340160043029
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