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Neonatology and obstetric anaesthesia
  1. M P Ward Platt
  1. Correspondence to Dr M P Ward Platt, Neonatal Service (Ward 35), Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK; m.p.ward-platt{at}ncl.ac.uk

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I could have entitled this Editorial ‘Fissures in perinatal medicine’, because in spite of the rhetoric of physicians taking a unified approach to maternal and infant health, the depressing truth is that in many countries paediatricians, obstetricians, and obstetric anaesthetists inhabit their own academic silos, and all too seldom collaborate constructively in research to improve the lot of mothers and babies.

There is at least some historical interplay between obstetrics and neonatology. For instance the neonatal and long term developmental effects of maternal steroid administration has required close collaboration; so have neonatal outcomes for the mode of delivery of twins, and babies in breech presentation. Readers will recall other examples. But of course it is not just obstetric issues that impact on the neonate: depending on local factors and availability, between a third and a half of women delivering in developed nations now either receive epidural anaesthesia, or have a caesarean section, or both. So it is germane to consider the impact not …

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