Early caesareans ‘put babies at risk’

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on a paper published in the Institute’s journal Public Health Research & Practice, showing that more than one-third of repeat elective caesareans are being delivered earlier than the term mandated by the NSW Government.

Health reporter Harriet Alexander writes:

NSW Health issued a policy directive to hospitals in 2007 requiring them not to perform elective caesareans before 39 weeks’ gestation unless there was a compelling medical reason.

Caesarean babies delivered earlier than 39 weeks have higher rates of respiratory distress and most international obstetric associations recommend that they are not delivered before that date.

But an analysis of birth data shows that NSW public hospitals are disregarding the directive, with one hospital delivering elective caesareans earlier than 39 weeks to 67.5 per cent of mothers who have previously had a caesarean delivery.

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