A comparison between midwifery and obstetric care at birth in Spain: Across-sectional study of perinatal outcomes

Anna Martin-Arribas, Ramon Escuriet, Alicia Borràs-Santos, Rafael Vila-Candel, Cristina González-Blázquez

Producción científica: Artículo en revista indizadaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

11 Citas (Scopus)


Background: The organizational structure of maternity services determines the choice of which professionals provide care during pregnancy, birth, and the postnatal period, and it influences the kind of care they deliver and the level of continuity of care offered. There is considerable evidence that demonstrates a relationship between how care is provided and the maternal and neonatal health outcomes. Registered midwives and obstetricians provide maternity care across Spain. To date, no studies have assessed whether maternity outcomes differ between these two groups. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the association between the care received (midwifery care versus obstetric care) and the maternal and neonatal outcomes in women with normal, low- and medium-risk pregnancies in Spain from 2016 to 2019. Design: A prospective, multicentre, cross-sectional study was carried out as part of COST Action IS1405 at 44 public hospitals in Spain in the years 2016–2019. The protocol can be accessed through the registry ISRCTN14062994. The sample size of this study was 11,537 women. The primary outcome was mode of birth. The secondary outcomes included augmentation with oxytocin, use of epidural analgesia, women's position at birth, perineal integrity, third stage of labour management, maternal and neonatal admission to intensive care, Apgar score, neonatal resuscitation, and early initiation of breastfeeding. Chi-square tests for categorical variables and independent sample t-test for continuous variables to assess differences between the midwifery and obstetric groups were calculated. Odds ratio with intervals of confidence at 95% were calculated for obstetric interventions and perinatal outcomes. A multivariate logistic regression model was applied in order to examine the effect of type of healthcare provider on perinatal outcomes. These models were adjusted for care provider, type of onset of labour, use of anaesthesia, pregnancy risk, maternal age, parity, and gestational age at birth. Results: Midwifery care was associated with lower rates of operative births and severe perineal damage and had no higher adverse outcomes. No statistically significant differences were observed in the use of other obstetric interventions between the two groups. Conclusions: The findings of this study should encourage a shift in the current maternity care system towards a greater integration of midwifery-led services in order to achieve optimal birth outcomes for women and newborns.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo104129
PublicaciónInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
EstadoPublicada - feb 2022


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