A study conducted by researchers at Yale University finds that a cesarean (C-section) delivery, which was thought to be harmless, is associated with breathing problems in preterm babies who are small for gestational age. The findings were presented at the 32nd Annual Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) Meeting in Dallas last week.

The researchers reviewed 8 years of birth certificate and hospital discharge information for 2,885 preterm babies considered small for gestational age. The researchers found that babies delivered by C-section before 34 weeks of pregnancy who were small for gestational age had higher odds of developing respiratory distress syndrome than babies born vaginally at a similar gestational age.

The increased odds persisted after controlling for maternal age, ethnicity, education, primary insurance payer, pre-pregnancy weight, gestational age at delivery, diabetes, and hypertension.

Source: Yale University