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Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1977 Jun;84(6):401-11.

Home and hospital confinement in Newcastle upon Tyne, 1960 to 1969.


During the decade 1960 to 1969, perinatal mortality rates in Newcastle upon Tyne fell in parallel with national trends, in association with a marked reduction of domiciliary midwifery. Analysis of the records of women booked for confinement at home or in specialist hospitals showed that the reduction of mortality occurred with unexpected uniformity in both categories, in low risk as well as high risk patients, and in all causes of mortality except congenital malformations. It could not be attributed to improvements in maternal characteristics nor to increased size of babies at birth. The most probably explanation seems to be a combination of many improvements in the quality of care, with increased awareness of risks, better selection of high-risk groups, and improved supervision and management throughout. There is no indication that single factor in obstetric management, such as more intervention during labour, had a dominant effect.

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