Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 93:F176-F182 doi:10.1136/adc.2006.112565
  • Original article

Neonatal outcomes with caesarean delivery at term

  1. F A Liston1,2,3,
  2. V M Allen1,2,3,
  3. C M O’Connell1,2,3,
  4. K A Jangaard1,2,3
  1. 1
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  2. 2
    Department of Paediatrics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  3. 3
    Department of Perinatal Epidemiology, Research Unit, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  1. Dr K A Jangaard, Division of Neonatal–Perinatal Medicine, Department of Paediatrics, 5850/5980 University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3K 6R8; krista.jangaard{at}
  • Accepted 10 October 2007
  • Published Online First 17 October 2007


Objective: To estimate the impact of caesarean delivery on the incidence of selected neonatal outcomes.

Patients and methods: A 15-year, population-based, cohort study (1988–2002) using the Nova Scotia Atlee Perinatal Database compared neonatal outcomes in term newborns born by spontaneous and assisted vaginal delivery, with newborns born by caesarean delivery, with and without labour, using multiple logistic regression.

Results: From a total of 142 929 deliveries, there were 27 263 caesarean deliveries, 61% of which were performed in labour. Relative risks were adjusted for year of birth, maternal age, parity, smoking, maternal weight at delivery, hypertensive diseases, diabetes, previous caesarean delivery, use of regional anaesthesia, induction of labour, gestational age at delivery and large and small for gestational age, where significant. Caesarean delivery in labour, but not caesarean delivery without labour, had increased risks for depression at birth and neonatal respiratory conditions compared with spontaneous or assisted vaginal delivery. Compared with spontaneous vaginal delivery and assisted vaginal delivery, the risk of major neonatal birth trauma was decreased for infants after caesarean delivery with labour (odds ratio (OR) = 0.34, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.56 and OR = 0.07, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.11, respectively) and caesarean delivery without labour (OR = 0.20, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.52 and OR = 0.04, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.10, respectively).

Conclusion: Caesarean delivery in labour, compared with vaginal delivery, is more likely to be associated with an increased risk for respiratory conditions and depression at birth than caesarean delivery without labour. Caesarean delivery appears protective against neonatal birth trauma, especially when performed without labour.


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethical approval: Ethical approval was obtained from the research ethics board at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Latest from Education & Practice

Latest from Education & Practice

Register for free content

Free sample
This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of ADC Fetal & Neonatal.
View free sample issue >>

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the articles as they are published.

Navigate This Article