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J Clin Epidemiol. 2000 Oct;53(10):1030-5.

Physician gender and cesarean sections.

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Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, 60 College St., Box 208034, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.



Among consumers insurers, and providers there is pervasive concern regarding the high incidence of cesarean section delivery. To date, attempts to reduce these rates have focused on the clinical behavior of providers resulting in only minimal changes. Therefore, non-medical variables must be investigated as potential explanatory factors for the decision to perform cesarean delivery.


Data were collected on clinical and non-clinical factors for obstetrician-gynecologists delivering at Yale-New Haven Medical Center to measure the impact of these factors on the performance of cesarean sections. Specifically, variation in patient demographic, ante- and intra-partum risk variables, practice setting, and doctor-specific characteristics were examined. Using contingency table and logistic regression analyses the contribution of selected factors was evaluated.


Multivariate modeling revealed that male physicians were significantly more likely than their female colleagues to perform cesarean section. This relationship was particularly strong in the university practice setting.


Efforts to reduce the incidence of cesarean section need to focus on the continuing education of health care providers and the delineation of non-clinical factors as essential elements in the election of specific clinical therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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