Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes of Pregnancies Delivered at 23 Weeks’ Gestation
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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the maternal and perinatal outcomes of pregnancies delivered at 23+0 to 23+6 weeks' gestation. METHODS: This prospective cohort study included women in the Canadian Perinatal Network who were admitted to one of 16 Canadian tertiary perinatal units between August 1, 2005, and March 31, 2011, and who delivered at 23+0 to 23+6 weeks' gestation. Women were included in the network if they were admitted with spontaneous preterm labour with contractions, a short cervix without contractions, prolapsing membranes with membranes at or beyond the external os or a dilated cervix, preterm premature rupture of membranes, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational hypertension, or antepartum hemorrhage. Maternal outcomes included Caesarean section, placental abruption, and serious complication. Perinatal outcomes were mortality and serious morbidity. RESULTS: A total of 248 women and 287 infants were included in the study. The rate of Caesarean section was 10.5% (26/248) and 40.3% of women (100/248) had a serious complication, the most common being chorioamnionitis (38.6%), followed by blood transfusion (4.5%). Of infants with known outcomes, perinatal mortality was 89.9% (223/248) (stillbirth 23.3% [67/287] and neonatal death 62.9% [156/248]). Of live born neonates with known outcomes (n = 181), 38.1% (69/181) were admitted to NICU. Of those admitted to NICU, neonatal death occurred in 63.8% (44/69). Among survivors at discharge, the rate of severe brain injury was 44.0% (11/25), of retinopathy of prematurity 58.3% (14/24), and of any serious neonatal morbidity 100% (25/25). Two subgroup analyses were performed: in one, antepartum stillbirths were excluded, and in the other only centres that indicated they offered fetal monitoring at 23 weeks' gestation were included and antepartum stillbirths were excluded. In each of these, perinatal outcomes similar to the overall group were found. CONCLUSION: Pregnant women delivering at 23 weeks' gestation are at risk of morbidity. Their infants have high rates of serious morbidity and mortality. Further research is needed to identify strategies and forms of management that not only increase perinatal survival but also reduce morbidities in these extremely low gestational age infants and reduce maternal morbidity.
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