Background & objective: One of the objectives of health reform plan in Iran is to reduce the rate of cesarean section delivery. This needs research and use of results to improve the maternal and neonatal outcomes. The aim of this study was to compare the maternal and neonatal outcomes after normal vaginal and cesarean section delivery in hospitalized low-risk mothers in Arash Hospital in Tehran, Iran.
Methods: In this prospective cohort study, 1900 low-risk pregnant women, with 37-40 weeks of gestational age, referring to the emergency department and being hospitalized for delivery were included. The data were collected from two groups of patients (normal vaginal delivery and cesarean section delivery). Data on wound infection, abnormal postpartum hemorrhage, decrease of hemoglobin, transfusion requirement, injuries to the genitourinary system, fever until 10 days after delivery, neonatal respiratory complications, NICU admission, jaundice and obstetric injuries were collected by a questionnaire.
Results: From 1900 pregnant women, 62.1% had cesarean delivery and 37.9% had normal vaginal delivery. The reasons for cesarean delivery included repeated cesarean (68%), failure to progress (18.1%), and fetal distress (13/9%). Wound infection (p=0. 004), abnormal postpartum hemorrhage (p=0.042) and low hemoglobin (p<0.001) were more frequent in cesarean delivery group than in normal vaginal delivery group. But obstetric injuries were higher in normal vaginal delivery group (p<0. 0001). There was no difference between the two groups in terms of fever ten days after delivery and blood transfusion requirement. For neonatal outcomes, transient neonatal tachypnea (p=0.032), neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (p=0.002), and NICU admission (p<0. 0001) were more frequent in cesarean delivery group than in normal vaginal delivery group. There was no difference between the two groups in neonatal jaundice rate and neonatal injuries.
Conclusion: Due to the high rate of cesarean section delivery in our country and higher rate of maternal and neonatal complications after cesarean section delivery, appropriate strategies are required to be applied to decrease unnecessary cesarean section delivery and increase normal delivery with minimum maternal and neonatal complications.