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Out-of-maternity deliveries in France: A nationwide population-based study

Abstract : INTRODUCTION: In France, many maternity hospitals have been closed as a result of hospital restructuring in an effort to reduce costs through economies of scale. These closures have naturally increased the distance between home and the closest maternity ward for women throughout the country. However, studies have shown a positive correlation between this increase in distance and the incidence of unplanned out-of-maternity deliveries (OMD). This study was conducted to estimate the frequency of OMD in France, to identify the main risk factors and to assess their impact on maternal mortality and neonatal morbidity and mortality. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a population-based observational retrospective study using data from 2012 to 2014 obtained from the French hospital discharge database. We included 2,256,797 deliveries and 1,999,453 singleton newborns in mainland France, among which, 6,733 (3.0‰) were OMD. The adverse outcomes were maternal mortality in hospital or during transport, stillbirth, neonatal mortality, neonatal hospitalizations, and newborn hypothermia and polycythemia. The socio-residential environment was also included in the regression analysis. Maternal and newborn adverse outcomes associated with OMD were analyzed with Generalized Estimating Equations regressions. RESULTS: The distance to the nearest maternity unit was the main factor for OMD. OMD were associated with maternal death (aRR 6.5 [1.6-26.3]) and all of the neonatal adverse outcomes: stillbirth (3.3 [2.8-3.8]), neonatal death (1.9 [1.2-3.1]), neonatal hospitalization (1.2 [1.1-1.3]), newborn hypothermia (5.9 [5.2-6.6]) and newborn polycythemia (4.8 [3.5-6.4]). DISCUSSION: In France, OMD increased over the study period. OMD were associated with all the adverse outcomes studied for mothers and newborns. Caregivers, including emergency teams, need to be better prepared for the management these at-risk cases. Furthermore, the increase in adverse outcomes, and the additional generated costs, should be considered carefully by the relevant authorities before any decisions are made to close or merge existing maternity units.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 11:03:12 AM
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Evelyne Combier, Adrien Roussot, Jean-Louis Chabernaud, Jonathan Cottenet, Patrick Rozenberg, et al.. Out-of-maternity deliveries in France: A nationwide population-based study. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2020, 15 (2), pp.e0228785. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0228785⟩. ⟨inserm-02529237⟩

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