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ACOG Weighs In on Elective C-Section, Nonmedically Indicated Early-Term Delivery — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
March 22, 2013

ACOG Weighs In on Elective C-Section, Nonmedically Indicated Early-Term Delivery

By Amy Orciari Herman

Committees from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have issued two statements: one on nonmedically indicated, early-term deliveries, and the other on elective cesarean delivery.

The first concludes that delivery at 37 to 38 weeks' gestation, when not medically indicated, "is not appropriate." The committee points to the greater morbidity and mortality among newborns and infants born before 39 weeks, including greater incidences of respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and hypoglycemia.

The second statement, while acknowledging limitations to the data comparing elective cesarean and planned vaginal delivery, concludes: "In the absence of maternal or fetal indications for cesarean delivery, a plan for vaginal delivery is safe and appropriate and should be recommended." The committee adds that if elective cesarean delivery is planned, it should not be performed before 39 weeks' gestation, it should not be driven by concerns about pain, and it is especially not recommended for women who plan to have several children.

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