Abstract AIM: Cesarean section (CS) is currently the most commonly performed surgical intervention worldwide. Indications include previous CS, podalic presentation and fetal macrosomia in antepartum CS, fetal distress, and prolonged first or second phase of labor in intrapartum CS. Despite the marked reduction in fetal mortality and morbidity in selected circumstances, maternal complication rates associated with CS are far higher than with vaginal delivery. The aim of this study was to evaluate the indications and maternal and fetal outcomes in a population undergoing antepartum or intrapartum CS and to analyze the risk factors of intrapartum CS. METHODS: An analysis was conducted on data from 1748 deliveries performed at the Gynecology-Obstetrics Clinic of the University of Udine during 2006. A total of 603 medical records of the mothers who had delivered by CS and their infants were analyzed. The Indications and maternal and fetal outcomes were evaluated in mothers who had undergone elective CS, emergency antepartum or intrapartum CS; multivariate analysis was then performed to define the risk factors associated with intrapartum CS. RESULTS: Cesarean sections accounted for 34.5% of all deliveries performed during 2006, of which 42.1% were elective CS, 21.1% emergency antepartum CS, and 36.8% intrapartum CS. The principal reason for CS delivery was previous CS in elective CS, gestational hypertension in emergency antepartum CS, and cardiotocographic alterations in emergency intrapartum CS. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the independent risk factors for intrapartum CS were excessive weight gain during pregnancy and medically induced labor. CONCLUSION: A more accurate evaluation of the mother's and neonate's needs could help to improve the current rates of CS. This could be achieved by selection of cases in which there is a real need for CS and by acting on modifiable risk factors of intrapartum CS such as excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
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