Elective delivery at term after a previous unexplained intra-uterine fetal death : audit of delivery outcome at Tygerberg Hospital, South Africa
CITATION: Gebhardt, S. & Oberholzer, L. 2015. Elective delivery at term after a previous unexplained intra-uterine fetal death: audit of delivery outcome at Tygerberg Hospital, South Africa. PLoS ONE, 10(6):1-11, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130254.
The original publication is available at http://journals.plos.org/plosone
Objectives: To assess the delivery outcome in a pregnancy with a previous unexplained intra-uterine death by elective induction of labour at term. Methods: An audit of the pregnancy outcome of all women within the catchment area with a current singleton pregnancy; and a previous unexplained or unexplored singleton fetal demise ≥24 weeks (or 500 grams birth weight if gestation unknown) after planned routine induction of labour at full term (39-40 weeks). Results: During the audit period, 306 patients with a previous intra-uterine fetal death were referred for further management. Of these, 161 had a clear indication for earlier intervention and were excluded from the protocol. Of the remaining 145 patients, 9 met further exclusion criteria and there were 2 patients who defaulted. Forty-two of the remaining study patients (with no known previous medical problems) developed complications during their antenatal course that necessitated a change in clinical management and earlier (<39 weeks) delivery. Of the remaining 92 patients in the audit, 47 (51%) went into spontaneous labour before their induction date; all 92 women delivered without major complications. There were no intra-uterine deaths prior to induction. Conclusions: Careful follow up at a high risk clinic identifies new or concealed maternal or fetal complications in 29% of patients with a previous intra-uterine death and no obvious maternal or fetal disease in the index pregnancy. When all risks are excluded and the pregnancy allowed to progress to full term (39-40 weeks) before an induction is offered, 50% will go into spontaneous labour.
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