University of Leicester
12884_2016_Article_1154.pdf (511.34 kB)

Impact of obstetric interventions on condition at birth in extremely preterm babies: evidence from a national cohort study.

Download (511.34 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2017-01-17, 14:12 authored by A. S. Morgan, N. Marlow, Elizabeth S. Draper, Z. Alfirević, E. M. Hennessy, K. Costeloe
BACKGROUND: To investigate perinatal decision-making and the use of obstetric interventions, we examined the effects of antenatal steroids, tocolysis, and delivery mode on birth in a good condition (defined as presence of an infant heart rate >100 at five minutes of age) and delivery-room (DR) death in extremely preterm deliveries. METHODS: Prospective cohort of all singleton births in England in 2006 at 22-26 weeks of gestation where the fetus was alive at the start of labour monitoring or decision to perform caesarean section. Odds ratios adjusted for potential confounders (aOR) were calculated using logistic regression. RESULTS: One thousand seven hundred twenty two singleton pregnancies were included. 1231 women received antenatal steroids, 437 tocolysis and 356 delivered by Caesarean section. In babies born vaginally, aOR between a partial course of steroids and improved condition at birth was 1.84, 95% CI: 1.20 to 2.82 and, for a complete course, 1.63, 95% CI: 1.08 to 2.47; for DR death, aORs were 0.34 (0.21 to 0.55) and 0.41 (0.26 to 0.64) for partial and complete courses of steroids. No association was seen for steroid use in babies delivered by Caesarean section. Tocolysis was associated with improved condition at birth (aOR 1.45, 95% CI: 1.05 to 2.0) and lower odds of death (aOR 0.48, 95% CI: 0.32 to 0.73). In women without spontaneous labour, Caesarean delivery at ≤24 and 25 weeks was associated with improved condition at birth ((aORs 12.67 (2.79 to 57.60) and 4.94 (1.44 to 16.90), respectively) and lower odds of DR death (aORs 0.03 (0.01 to 0.21) and 0.13 (0.03 to 0.55)). There were no differences at 26 weeks gestation or in women with spontaneous labour. CONCLUSIONS: Antenatal steroids are strongly associated with improved outcomes in babies born vaginally. Tocolysis was associated with improvements in all analyses. Effects persisted after adjustment for perinatal decision-making. However, associations between delivery mode and birth outcomes may be attributable to case selection.


The EPICure studies are funded by the Medical Research Council (reference G0401525). Neil Marlow receives part funding from the Department of Health’s NIHR Biomedical Research Centre’s funding scheme at UCLH/UCL.



BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 2016 16:390

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/School of Medicine/Department of Health Sciences


  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth


BioMed Central



Acceptance date


Available date


Publisher version


The EPICure studies are subject to a data sharing policy that may be downloaded from Statistical code is available from the corresponding author.



Usage metrics

    University of Leicester Publications


    No categories selected



    Ref. manager