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Early and total neonatal mortality in relation to birth setting in the United States, 2006-2009

Published:March 24, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2014.03.047

      Objective

      We examined neonatal mortality in relation to birth settings and birth attendants in the United States from 2006 through 2009.

      Study Design

      Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–linked birth and infant death dataset in the United States from 2006 through 2009 were used to assess early and total neonatal mortality for singleton, vertex, and term births without congenital malformations delivered by midwives and physicians in the hospital and midwives and others out of the hospital. Deliveries by hospital midwives served as the reference.

      Results

      Midwife home births had a significantly higher total neonatal mortality risk than deliveries by hospital midwives (1.26 per 1000 births; relative risk [RR], 3.87 vs 0.32 per 1000; P < .001). Midwife home births of 41 weeks or longer (1.84 per 1000; RR, 6.76 vs 0.27 per 1000; P < .001) and midwife home births of women with a first birth (2.19 per 1000; RR, 6.74 vs 0.33 per 1000; P < .001) had significantly higher risks of total neonatal mortality than deliveries by hospital midwives. In midwife home births, neonatal mortality for first births was twice that of subsequent births (2.19 vs 0.96 per 1000; P < .001). Similar results were observed for early neonatal mortality. The excess total neonatal mortality for midwife home births compared with midwife hospital births was 9.32 per 10,000 births, and the excess early neonatal mortality was 7.89 per 10,000 births.

      Conclusion

      Our study shows a significantly increased total and early neonatal mortality for home births and even higher risks for women of 41 weeks or longer and women having a first birth. These significantly increased risks of neonatal mortality in home births must be disclosed by all obstetric practitioners to all pregnant women who express an interest in such births.

      Key words

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