Planned delivery route and outcomes of cephalic singletons born spontaneously at 24-31 weeks’ gestation: The EPIPAGE-2 cohort study

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2020 Dec;99(12):1682-1690. doi: 10.1111/aogs.13939.Epub 2020 Jul 13.


Introduction: The objective of this study was to investigate the association between planned mode of delivery and neonatal outcomes with spontaneous very preterm birth among singletons in cephalic presentation.

Material and methods: Etude Epidémiologique sur les Petits Ages Gestationnels 2 is a French national, prospective, population-based cohort study of preterm infants. For this study, we included women with a singleton cephalic pregnancy and spontaneous preterm labor or preterm premature rupture of membranes at 24-31 weeks’ gestation. The main exposure was the planned mode of delivery (ie planned vaginal delivery or planned cesarean delivery at the initiation of labor). The primary outcome was survival at discharge and secondary outcome survival at discharge without severe morbidity. Propensity scores were used to minimize indication bias in estimating the association.

Results: The study population consisted of 1008 women: 206 (20.4%) had planned cesarean delivery and 802 (79.6%) planned vaginal delivery. In all, 723 (90.2%) finally had a vaginal delivery. Overall, 187 (92.0%) and 681 (87.0%) neonates in the planned cesarean delivery and planned vaginal delivery groups were discharged alive, and 156 (77.6%) and 590 (76.3%) were discharged alive without severe morbidity. After matching on propensity score, planned cesarean delivery was not associated with survival (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.05, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.48-2.28) or survival without severe morbidity (aOR 0.64, 95% CI 0.36-1.16).

Conclusions: Planned cesarean delivery for cephalic presentation at 24-31 weeks’ gestation after preterm labor or preterm premature rupture of membranes does not improve neonatal outcomes.