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Can Med Assoc J. 1984 Dec 15;131(12):1461-6.

Care in a birth room versus a conventional setting: a controlled trial.


A controlled clinical trial was carried out to assess whether a birth room setting would influence the care of mothers and newborns. Of the 163 low-risk women enrolled, 49 (30%) manifested some prenatal risk and were excluded. The remaining 114 were allocated by strict alternation to a birth room or a conventional setting. Of the 56 women allocated to the birth room, 63% of the primiparas and 19% of the multiparas were later transferred. The numbers in the two settings who had oxytocin stimulation, epidural anesthesia, forceps delivery or cesarean section did not show statistically significant differences. The episiotomy rates were slightly lower in the birth room than in the conventional setting, and the rates of an intact perineum were higher in the birth room. Neither the Apgar scores nor the morbidity rates of the infants showed statistically significant differences related to the setting to which the mother had been allocated, although more infants from the conventional setting were admitted to a special care unit. Both "experimental" groups of women less often received routine perineal shaving, enemas or intravenous infusions than did an obstetrically similar nonexperimental comparison group. Despite the apparent inability in this setting for the birth room to influence the rate of major obstetric procedures (except for episiotomy) and outcomes, the authors believe that a birth room is desirable in tertiary care centres as well as in community hospitals.

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