During 2005–2007, a third of women delivered vaginally, half by elective CS and the remainder by emergency CS. In contrast, at the start of the HAART era, two-thirds of women delivered by elective CS. We document geographical variation in mode of delivery in the HAART era, with an increasing proportion of vaginal deliveries, mainly in the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands. In multivariable analysis of MTCT risk among MCPs with maternal HIV
RNA <400 copies/mL, elective CS was associated with an 80% decreased MTCT risk. However, among women with viral loads <50 copies/mL there were only two transmissions overall. Although clinical trials are the gold standard for clinical care, observational studies often provide initial evidence for trial inception and design. Use of elective CS Apoptosis Compound Library high throughput SCH772984 concentration as a PMTCT intervention is a case in point: the ECS first published results showing an association between reduced MTCT risk and elective CS in 1994 ,
with subsequent confirmation from a large meta-analysis . Our finding here that the peak elective CS rate occurred in 1999, when the mode of delivery trial was published , is probably largely explained by participating clinicians changing their practices before the trial results were released based on the observational evidence they helped to provide; furthermore, some women were concomitantly enrolled in both the trial and the ECS. The somewhat paradoxical finding of a declining elective CS rate in the years immediately following the trial publication may be partly explained by the concurrent implementation of antenatal HAART
instead of mono- or dual therapy for PMTCT, when the first studies suggesting the benefit of HAART for decreasing MTCT risk were published [24–27] and guidelines started to change. In the Netherlands, for instance, the national guideline in 2000 only mentioned an elective CS as a rescue therapy in case of HAART failure or refusal . Other European studies have also documented declining elective CS rates in the HAART era. In an analysis from the French Quisqualic acid Perinatal Study involving over 5000 pregnant women receiving antenatal ART and delivering between 1997 and 2004, the elective CS rate declined from 56% in 2000 to 41% in 2004 . In the United Kingdom and Ireland National Study of HIV in Pregnancy and Childhood (NSHPC), the elective CS rate peaked in 1999 at 66%, declining to around 50% in 2006. The emergency CS rate we report here was relatively stable but high and ranged from 15% to 17% in the HAART era; the French Perinatal Study also reported stable emergency CS rates between 1997 and 2004, but higher at around 29% .