Indicated preterm birth for fetal anomalies

Seminars in Perinatology
S D Craigo


Between 2% and 3% of pregnancies are complicated by fetal anomalies. For most anomalies, there is no advantage to late preterm or early-term delivery. The risks of maternal or fetal complication are specific for each anomaly. Very few anomalies pose potential maternal risk. Some anomalies carry ongoing risks to the fetus, such as an increased risk of fetal death, hemorrhage, or organ damage. In a limited number of select cases, the advantages of late preterm or early-term birth may include avoiding an ongoing risk of fetal death related to the anomaly, allowing delivery in a controlled setting with availability of subspecialists and allowing direct care for the neonate with organ injury. The optimal gestational age for delivery cannot be determined for all pregnancies complicated by fetal anomalies. For most pregnancies complicated by anomalies, there is no change to obstetrical management regarding timing of delivery. For those that may benefit from late preterm or early-term delivery, variability exists such that each management plan should be individualized.


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Related Concepts

Fetal Structures
Fetal Ultrasonography
Obstetric Delivery
Premature Birth
Congenital Abnormality
Fetal Death
Patient Care

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