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BMJ Open. 2014 May 21;4(5):e004551. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004551.

Rates of obstetric intervention and associated perinatal mortality and morbidity among low-risk women giving birth in private and public hospitals in NSW (2000-2008): a linked data population-based cohort study.

Author information

  • 1Family and Community Health Research Group, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia.
  • 2Royal Hospital for Women, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
  • 3Centre for Newborn Care, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia School of Medicine, University of Sydney, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia.
  • 4Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia School of Women and Children's Health, University of NSW, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.
  • 5NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine the rates of obstetric intervention and associated perinatal mortality and morbidity in the first 28 days among low-risk women giving birth in private and public hospitals in NSW (2000-2008).

DESIGN:

Linked data population-based retrospective cohort study involving five data sets.

SETTING:

New South Wales, Australia.

PARTICIPANTS:

691 738 women giving birth to a singleton baby during the period 2000-2008.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Rates of neonatal resuscitation, perinatal mortality, neonatal admission following birth and readmission to hospital in the first 28 days of life in public and private obstetric units.

RESULTS:

Rates of obstetric intervention among low-risk women were higher in private hospitals, with primiparous women 20% less likely to have a normal vaginal birth compared to the public sector. Neonates born in private hospitals were more likely to be less than 40 weeks; more likely to have some form of resuscitation; less likely to have an Apgar <7 at 5 min. Neonates born in private hospitals to low-risk mothers were more likely to have a morbidity attached to the birth admission and to be readmitted to hospital in the first 28 days for birth trauma (5% vs 3.6%); hypoxia (1.7% vs 1.2%); jaundice (4.8% vs 3%); feeding difficulties (4% vs 2.4%) ; sleep/behavioural issues (0.2% vs 0.1%); respiratory conditions (1.2% vs 0.8%) and circumcision (5.6 vs 0.3%) but they were less likely to be admitted for prophylactic antibiotics (0.2% vs 0.6%) and for socioeconomic circumstances (0.1% vs 0.7%). Rates of perinatal mortality were not statistically different between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

For low-risk women, care in a private hospital, which includes higher rates of intervention, appears to be associated with higher rates of morbidity seen in the neonate and no evidence of a reduction in perinatal mortality.

Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.

KEYWORDS:

Neonatology; Obstetrics

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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