How to Stop the Relentless Rise in Cesarean Deliveries

Deputy Editor John T. Queenan, MD, is the Deputy Editor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Obstetrics and Gynecology (Impact Factor: 5.18). 08/2011; 118(2 Pt 1):199-200. DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3182266682
Source: PubMed
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    • "These results highlight the importance of evidence-based clinical care, patient education, and patient-provider communication regarding labor induction and cesarean birth, with a focus on the particular risks and benefits that may be perceived by employed women. With increasing national attention on reducing the primary cesarean rate (Declercq et al., 2006; Queenan, 2011; Scott, 2011; Spong et al., 2012), it is important to direct attention to both the workplace and the clinical setting as potential sites for education and intervention to improve the quality of maternity care that U.S. women receive. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Rising rates of labor induction and cesarean delivery, especially when used without a medical reason, have generated concern among clinicians, women, and policymakers. Whether employment status affects pregnant women's childbirth-related care is not known. We estimated the relationship between prenatal employment and obstetric procedures, distinguishing whether women reported that the induction or cesarean was performed for medical reasons. Methods Using data from a nationally representative sample of women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals (n = 1,573), we used propensity score matching to reduce potential bias from nonrandom selection into employment. Outcomes were cesarean delivery and labor induction, with and without a self-reported medical reason. Exposure was prenatal employment status (full-time employment, not employed). We conducted separate analyses for unmatched and matched cohorts using multivariable regression models. Findings There were no differences in labor induction based on employment status. In unmatched analyses, employed women had higher odds of cesarean delivery overall (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.45; p = .046) and cesarean delivery without medical reason (AOR, 1.94; p = .024). Adding an interaction term between employment and college education revealed no effects on cesarean delivery without medical reason. There were no differences in cesarean delivery by employment status in the propensity score–matched analysis. Conclusions Full-time prenatal employment is associated with higher odds of cesarean delivery, but this association was not explained by socioeconomic status and no longer existed after accounting for sociodemographic differences by matching women employed full time with similar women not employed during pregnancy.
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