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Midwifery Care Cuts Poor Birth Outcomes Versus Physician Care

Rates of preterm birth, low-birth weight lower among low-income women

woman in labor

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with physician models of care, midwifery care is associated with lower odds of poor birth outcomes for low-income women, according to a study published in the October issue of BMJ Open.

In a study of 57,872 pregnant women of low socioeconomic position who delivered between 2005 and 2012, Daphne N. McRae, Ph.D., from University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues evaluated if antenatal midwifery care (4,705 patients) was associated with lower odds of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) birth, preterm birth (PTB), or low-birth weight (LBW) compared with general practitioner (45,114 patients) or obstetrician (OB) care (8,053 patients).

The researchers found that odds of SGA birth were lower for patients receiving antenatal midwifery care versus general practitioner (GP) care (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.71) or OB care (aOR, 0.59). For midwifery care, odds of PTB were also lower compared with GP (aOR, 0.74) or OB patients (aOR, 0.53). Lastly, odds of LBW were lower for midwifery patients versus GP (aOR, 0.66) or OB patients (aOR, 0.43).

"Our findings show that women who are more vulnerable benefit from the care of a midwife, likely because they receive more time, counselling and education on how to care for themselves," McRae said in a statement.

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