Independent maternal demographic factors such as social status, ethnicity and maternal age can predict the likelihood of operative births in the UK, according to a new study published today (20 March) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
The study, conducted by researchers in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, explores which women are at an increased risk of an operative birth, including caesarean section (CS) or instrumental vaginal birth. It looks at data from the Millennium Cohort Study of babies born in the UK between 2000-2002 and includes 18,239 mother-infant pairs.
Rates of CS in the UK have increased since the 1980s, however, there has been no associated decrease in instrumental vaginal births. Operative births can lead to longer hospital stays and poorer psychological wellbeing, and represent a substantial financial cost to the NHS.
The researchers looked at four categories of mode of birth, including unassisted vaginal birth, instrumental vaginal birth, emergency CS and planned CS, and the impact of demographic factors such as age, ethnicity and socio-economic status, while controlling for a wide range of individual factors.
Findings showed that age played a significant role in determining mode of birth for all women, with operative birth rates rising with increasing maternal age. For example, 9.4% of first-time teenage mothers required an emergency CS compared with 30.3% of first-time mothers aged 35 or older.
Researchers found that some independent maternal factors differed when comparing primiparous (first-time mothers) to multiparous (have had one or more previous births) women.
Socio-economic factors impacted women differently, with first-time mothers from lower occupational status households 1.5 times more likely to have an instrumental vaginal birth and over twice as likely to have a planned CS.
While for multiparous wom
|Contact: Caitlin Walsh|