The EXIT procedure (ex utero intrapartum treatment) is a specialized delivery method for newborn babies who are suffering from an airway compression.
Several congenital or acquired conditions can result in an obstruction of the airways of a fetus. While the fetus is inside the mother, it does not require air as it's oxygen needs are provided through the umbilical cord. However, once the umbilical is disconnected, if the newborn cannot breathe, it will quickly suffer brain damage or death.
However, if the defect is discovered during pre-natal care, a treatment plan, which may include the EXIT procedure, can be anticipated and carried out during delivery. The procedure starts with a Caesarean section while the mother is under anesthetic. However, instead of completely removing the fetus, only the head is removed and the rest of the body is kept inside the abdomen, connected to the umbilical cord. This allows time for a surgeon to correct the defect or at least establish a working airway and ensure the newborn is capable of breathing before full delivery.