AIMS: To provide descriptive data on women who delivered at 23-25 wk of gestation, and to relate foetal and neonatal outcomes to maternal factors, obstetric management and the principal reasons for preterm birth. METHODS: Medical records of all women who had delivered in two tertiary care centres in 1992-1998 were reviewed. At the two centres, policies of active perinatal and neonatal management were universally applied. Logistic regression models were used to identify prenatal factors associated with survival. RESULTS: Of 197 women who delivered at 23-25 wk, 65% had experienced a previous miscarriage, 15% a previous stillbirth and 12% a neonatal death. The current pregnancy was the result of artificial reproduction in 13% of the women. In 71%, the pregnancy was complicated either by pre-eclampsia, chorioamnionitis, placental abruption or premature rupture of membranes. Antenatal steroids were given in 63%. Delivery was by caesarean section in 47%. The reasons for preterm birth were idiopathic preterm labour in 36%, premature rupture of membranes in 41% and physician-indicated deliveries in 23% of the mothers. Demographic details, use of antenatal steroids, caesarean section delivery and birthweight differed between mothers depending on the reason for preterm delivery. Of 224 infants, 5% were stillbirths and 63% survived to discharge. On multivariate logistic regression analysis comprising prenatally known variables, reasons for preterm birth were not associated with survival. Advanced gestational duration (OR: 2.43 per wk; 95% CI: 1.59-3.74), administration of any antenatal steroids (OR: 2.21; 95% Cl: 1.14-4.28) and intrauterine referral from a peripheral hospital (OR: 2.93; 95% CI: 1.5-5.73) were associated with survival. CONCLUSIONS: Women who deliver at 23-25 wk comprise a risk group characterized by a high risk of reproductive failure and pregnancy complications. Survival rates were similar regardless of the reason for preterm birth. Policies of active perinatal management virtually eliminated intrapartum stillbirths.