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Stark differences between childbirth procedures in public and private hospitals

Women in private hospitals are far more likely to choose to have a caesarean delivery.

MOTHERS WHO GIVE birth in a private hospital are 48 per cent more likely to choose to have a caesarean delivery than mothers in public hospitals.

University College Cork say that new research also found that women in private hospitals have an assisted delivery using forceps or vacuum 25 per cent more often.

Mothers who booked privately are also 13 per cent more likely to have an emergency caesarean delivery.

UCC say that they statistics were controlled to take common risk factors into account and make for a fair comparison.

Other child birth procedures are also more likely to be carried out in private hospitals, with episiotomies 40 per cent more common.

The National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre at UCC say that medical interventions can be necessary for mothers and babies but points out that the choice to perform these interventions can be affected by both clinical and non-clinical reasons.

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Mothers therefore need to aware of the benefits and risks of such interventions says  Jennifer Lutomski of UCC’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynacology:

“To provide the best quality maternity care, we need to understand differences in obstetric practice and avoid unnecessary risks.

“It is important that mums are aware of the benefits and risks of different obstetric procedures and feel open to discuss these issues with their maternity care providers,” Lutomski adds.

The UCC study was carried out between 2005 and 2010 and looked at information relating to over 400,000 child births, about one-third of these were in private hospitals.

Read: Interventions for first-time mothers “worryingly high” in Irish hospitals >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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