[Outcomes of Planned Out-of-Hospital and Low-Risk Hospital Births in Lower Saxony]

A. Petersen, L. M. Köhler, C. Schwarz, B. Vaske, M. M. Gross


Introduction Internationally, there is debate on the safety of different birth settings inside and outside of hospitals. Low-risk women in Germany can choose where they give birth, and out-of-hospital births are especially necessary in regions lacking infrastructure. To date, national studies are required. Materials and Methods We investigated planned out-of-hospital (OH) and hospital births in Lower Saxony, Germany, in 2005. Women with a singleton fetus in the vertex position were included once they reached 34+0 gestational weeks. 1 273 out of 4 424 births were included via risk assessment. Outcomes were compared using Pearson's chi-squared test, the Mann-Whitney test, and logistic regression. Results 152 (36.6%) nulliparae (NP) and 263 (63.4%) multiparae (MP) gave birth out of hospital, 439 (51.2%) nulliparae and 419 (48.8%) multiparae in a hospital. 10.1% of women whose care started outside of the hospital needed a transfer to the hospital. Women who planned OH were older and had a higher level of education. Women without a migration background displayed an increased rate of out-of-hospital birth. A higher proportion received their antenatal care from midwives rather than medical doctors. Induction of labor was less likely for women with planned out-of-hospital births, as were other intrapartum interventions. In hospital births, fetal monitoring was more likely performed via cardiotocograph instead of intermittent auscultation. Duration of labor was significantly longer in OH births (median: NP: 9.01 h vs. 7.38 h; MP: 4.53 h vs. 4.25 h). Nulliparae had more spontaneous births out-of-hospital (94.7%) than in hospital (73.6%). There was no difference in adverse fetal outcomes, blood loss, and severe perineal lacerations. The perineum was less frequently intact in hospital births. Retained placenta was more often documented in out-of-hospital births. Conclusions In an out-of-hospital setting, fewer interventions were performed, spontaneous births occurred more often, and there was no difference in neonatal outcomes. OH birth appears reasonably safe with thorough pre-labor risk assessment and good transfer management. Some beneficial aspects of OH birth care (like continuity of care and restriction of routine interventions) could be adopted by hospital labor wards, leading to a higher rate of vaginal births and improved care.
Original languageGerman
JournalZeitschrift fur Geburtshilfe und Neonatologie
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)187-197
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Research Areas and Centers

  • Health Sciences

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-21 Gynaecology and Obstetrics
  • 205-02 Public Health, Health Services Research and Social Medicine

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