CO #764, Medically indicated late-preterm and early-term deliveries
The neonatal risks of late-preterm and early-term births are well established, and the potential neonatal complications associated with elective delivery at less than 39 0/7 weeks of gestation are well described. However, there are a number of maternal, fetal, and placental complications in which either a late-preterm or early-term delivery is warranted. The timing of delivery in such cases must balance the maternal and newborn risks of late-preterm and early-term delivery with the risks associated with further continuation of pregnancy. Deferring delivery to the 39th week is not recommended if there is a medical or obstetric indication for earlier delivery. If there is a clear indication for a late-preterm or early-term delivery for either maternal or newborn benefit, then delivery should occur regardless of the results of lung maturity testing. Conversely, if delivery could be delayed safely in the context of an immature lung profile result, then no clear indication for a late-preterm or early-term delivery exists. Also, there remain several conditions for which data to guide delivery timing are not available. Some examples of these conditions include uterine dehiscence or chronic placental abruption. Delivery timing in these circumstances should be individualized and based on the current clinical situation. This Committee Opinion is being revised to include frequent obstetric conditions that would necessitate delivery before 39 weeks of gestation and to apply the most up-to-date evidence supporting delivery recommendations.