Does cesarean section prevent mortality and cerebral ultrasound abnormalities in preterm newborns?
OBJECTIVE: Despite the increased use of the cesarean section (CS), the rates of cerebral palsy, a frequent consequence of brain damage, have remained stable over the last decades. Whether an actual decrease in cerebral palsy has been masked by increased survival of infants delivered by CS or not, remains undefined. To investigate the role of CS, we compared risks of mortality and brain damage, as defined by ultrasound (US) abnormalities, in preterm newborns by mode of delivery. METHODS: Information on fetal, maternal, and neonatal risk factors was collected from the paired clinical records of preterm newborns and mothers. Crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) of mortality and ultrasound abnormalities, according to mode of delivery (i.e., vaginal, elective CS, and emergency CS) were calculated. All the analyses were controlled for possible confounding by indication. RESULTS: In newborns of gestational age <32 weeks, no effect of CS on cerebral US abnormalities was found (OR 0.71 and 0.73