Very preterm infant outcomes according to timing of birth

Rocha, G.*, Flor de Lima, F., Riquito, B., Guimarães, H. | JNPM 2020;


INTRODUCTION: Extremely preterm infants are a population of high risk for morbidity and mortality. NICU's staffing is often lower during nights, weekends and holidays than weekdays, and this fact may contribute to higher morbidities and mortality. Our aim was to analyze the neonatal morbidity and mortality of very preterm infants delivered at our center and admitted to the NICU during the night period, weekends and holidays compared to that registered on weekday admissions.

METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted at our level III NICU, including data on mother, pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal outcomes of preterm infants with a gestational age below 30 weeks, admitted between January 1st 2005 and December 31st 2017. Statistical analysis was performed using IBM SPSS® Statistics 23.

RESULTS: 220 infants were included in the study; median gestational age 27 weeks (min = 23; max = 29); median birth weight of 922 g (min = 360; max1555); 95 (43.2%) infants were delivered during weekdays and 125 (56.8%) were delivered during weeknights, weekends and holidays. There were no differences on mother's age, pregnancy complications, Apgar scores, birth weights, gestational ages and gender between the two groups. C-sections (p = 0.006), and small for gestational age infants (p = 0.010) were more prevalent in week day births. Chorioamnionitis with chorionic vasculitis (p = 0.028) and cystic periventricular leukomalacia (p = 0.032) were more prevalent in those delivered during the night period, weekends and holidays. In the multivariate analysis, cystic periventricular leukomalacia was not associated to a deliver during weeknights, weekends and holidays (OR = 0.580; 95% CI: 0.19–1.71, p = 0.324).

CONCLUSION: We did not find any increased morbidity and mortality associated with a birth during nights, weekends and holidays compared to that registered on weekday admissions.

*Corresponding Author: 

Gustavo Rocha, Department of Neonatology, Centro Hospitalar Universitário São João, Alameda Prof. Hernâni Monteiro, 4200 – 319 Porto, Portugal. Tel.: +351 225512100/Ext. 1949; Fax: +351 225512273; E-mail: