Time of delivery among low‐risk women at 37–42 weeks of gestation and risks of stillbirth and infant mortality, and long‐term neurological morbidity
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The most important knowledge gap in connection with obstetric management for time of delivery in term low-risk pregnancies relates to the absence of information on long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes. We examined risks of stillbirth, infant mortality, cerebral palsy (CP) and epilepsy among low-risk pregnancies. In this population-based Swedish study, we identified, from 1998 to 2019, 1,773,269 singleton infants born between 37 and 42 completed weeks in women with low-risk pregnancies. Poisson log-linear regression models were used to examine the association between gestational age at delivery and stillbirth, infant mortality, CP and epilepsy. Adjusted rate ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals expressing the effect of birth at a particular gestational week compared with birth at a later gestational week were estimated. Compared with those born at a later gestation, RRs for stillbirth and infant mortality were higher among births at 37 weeks' and 38 weeks' gestation. The RRs for infant mortality were approximately 20% and 25% lower among births at 40 or 41 weeks compared with those born at later gestation, respectively. Infants born at 37 and 38 weeks also had higher RRs for CP (vs infants born at ≥38 and ≥39 weeks, respectively), while those born at 39 gestation had similar RRs (vs infants born at ≥40 weeks); infants born at 40 and 41 weeks had lower RRs of CP (vs those born at ≥41 and 42 weeks, respectively). The RRs for epilepsy were higher in those born at 37 and 38 weeks compared with those born at later gestation. Among low-risk pregnancies, birth at 37 or 38 completed weeks' gestation is associated with increased risks of stillbirth, infant mortality and neurological morbidity, while birth at 39-40 completed weeks is associated with reduced risks compared with births at later gestation.
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