WEDNESDAY, Aug. 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Delivery before 25 weeks of gestation may represent a critical cutoff for a higher risk for long-term neurological complications following preterm birth, according to a study published online June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Shiran Zer, M.D., from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel, and colleagues assessed whether a critical threshold exists for long-term pediatric neurological morbidity and cerebral palsy (CP) in preterm delivery. The incidence of long-term hospitalizations of offspring due to neurological morbidity was assessed by gestational age at birth: 24 to 27.6 weeks; 28 to 31.6 weeks; 32 to 36.6 weeks, and term deliveries (220,563 deliveries total).

The researchers found that when adjusting for confounders, delivery before 25 weeks had a greater risk for long-term neurological morbidity (adjusted hazard ratio, 3.9). There was a linear association observed between long-term neurological morbidity and decreasing gestational age. Infants born before 25 weeks of gestation had increased rates of CP (adjusted hazard ratio, 62.4).

“Clinical practice should attempt prevention of preterm delivery where possible and attempt to optimize the timing of medically [indicated] induced delivery as close to full term as medically possible without surpassing an unacceptable increase in the risk to both mother and fetus,” the authors write.

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