Temporal trends in fetal mortality at and beyond term and induction of labor in Germany 2005–2012: data from German routine perinatal monitoring
OBJECTIVE To estimate the influence of changing practice patterns of post-term induction of labour on severe neonatal morbidity. METHODS This population-based cohort study used data from the Nova Scotia Atlee Perinatal Database to evaluate the effect of post-term induction of labour on stillbirth and neonatal mortality and severe neonatal morbidity in low-risk pregnancies. The study population included all pregnant women ≥ 40 weeks' gestation delivering in Nova Scotia from 1988 to 2008 who underwent induction of labour with a single fetus in cephalic presentation. Major congenital anomalies and pre-existing or severe gestational hypertension and diabetes were excluded. Women delivering post-term from 1994 to 2008 (after the Post-term Pregnancy Trial) were compared with women delivering from 1988 to 1992 to evaluate outcomes with changing maternal characteristics and obstetric practice patterns. RESULTS Evaluation and comparison of time epochs (1988 to 1992, 1994 to 1998, 1999 to 2003, and 2004 to 2008) demonstrated an increased risk for perinatal mortality or severe neonatal morbidity, especially low five-minute Apgar score, among both nulliparous and multiparous women. There were no significant differences in the risks for stillbirth or perinatal mortality over time. Comparable relationships were demonstrated in a subgroup of lower risk women. CONCLUSION The increase in post-term induction of labour with time is associated with a significant increase in severe neonatal morbidity, especially among infants born to multiparous women. Evaluation of the antepartum and intrapartum management of these low-risk pregnancies may provide additional information to reduce morbidity.