Perinatal mortality and neonatal and maternal outcome per gestational week in term pregnancies: A registry-based study

Jérôme Cornette*, Catharina J. van der Stok, Irwin K.M. Reiss, René F. Kornelisse, Eline van der Wilk, Arie Franx, Yves Jacquemyn, Eric A.P. Steegers, Loes C.M. Bertens

*Corresponding author for this work

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Introduction: Human pregnancy is considered term from 37+0/7 to 41+6/7 weeks. Within this range, both maternal, fetal and neonatal risks may vary considerably. This study investigates how gestational age per week is related to the components of perinatal mortality and parameters of adverse neonatal and maternal outcome at term. Material and Methods: A registry-based study was made of all singleton term pregnancies in the Netherlands from January 2014 to December 2017. Stillbirth and early neonatal mortality, as components of perinatal mortality, were defined as primary outcomes; adverse neonatal and maternal events as secondary outcomes. Neonatal adverse outcomes included birth trauma, 5-minute Apgar score ≤3, asphyxia, respiratory insufficiency, neonatal intensive care unit admission and composite neonatal outcome. Maternal adverse outcomes included instrumental vaginal birth, emergency cesarean section, obstetric anal sphincter injury, postpartum hemorrhage, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and composite maternal outcome. The primary outcomes were evaluated by comparing weekly prospective risks of stillbirth and neonatal death using a fetuses-at-risk approach. Secondly, odds ratios (OR) for perinatal mortality, adverse neonatal and maternal outcome using a births-based approach were compared for each gestational week with all births occurring after that week. Results: Data of 581 443 births were analyzed. At 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 and 42 weeks, the respective weekly prospective risks of stillbirth were 0.015%, 0.022%, 0.031%, 0.036%, 0.069% and 0.081%; the respective weekly prospective risks of early neonatal death were 0.051%, 0.047%, 0.032%, 0.031%, 0.039% and 0.035%. The OR for adverse neonatal outcomes were the lowest at 39 and 40 weeks. The OR for adverse maternal outcomes, including operative birth, continuously increased with each gestational week. Conclusions: The prospective risk of early neonatal death for babies born at 39 weeks is lower than the risk of stillbirth in pregnancies continuing beyond 39+6/7 weeks. Birth at 39 weeks was associated with the best combined neonatal and maternal outcome, fewer operative births and fewer maternal and neonatal adverse outcomes compared with pregnancies continuing beyond 39 weeks. This information with appropriate perspectives should be included when counseling term pregnant women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-91
Number of pages10
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number1
Early online date20 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Ko Hagoort for editorial assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology (NFOG).


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