Comparative Study
Journal Article
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Expectant management of pregnancies complicated by fetal growth restriction without any evidence of placental dysfunction at term: Comparison with routine labor induction.

AIM: To assess the feasibility and practicality of expectant management for pregnancies with fetal growth restriction (FGR) at term without evidence of placental dysfunction.

METHODS: We reviewed the records of pregnancies with an estimated fetal weight ≤ 1.5 SD below the mean at 37 weeks of gestation. We excluded elective cesarean deliveries and pregnancies that, at 37 weeks, were complicated by oligohydramnios, decreased fetal cerebroplacental ratio, or pregnancy-related hypertensive disorders. Prior to May 2013, we performed routine labor induction for FGR at term; after that time, we used routine expectant management. The rate of delivery by cesarean or instrumental assist and the rate of neonatal morbidity were compared between the groups.

RESULTS: The gestational age at delivery and the neonatal birthweight were higher in the expectant management policy group (39+4 vs 38+1 weeks; 2405 vs 2205 g). The cesarean rate (7/77 vs 7/73) and the instrumental delivery rate (5/77 vs 6/73) did not differ. Neonatal hypoglycemia and hyperbilirubinemia were significantly less frequent (10/77 vs 21/73; 7/77 vs 20/73) in the expectant management policy group. Seven patients in the expectant management policy group underwent emergency cesarean delivery; five of these (71%) had required labor induction because of progression to oligohydramnios.

CONCLUSIONS: Expectant management policy for FGR at term can reduce neonatal morbidity without increasing maternal risk or the cesarean rate. Caution should be used, however, during labor if oligohydramnios develops during expectant management.

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