Association of Obstetrician Gender With Obstetric Interventions and Outcomes

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate whether there are differences in obstetric interventions or outcomes by the gender of the delivering physician.

METHODS:

We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all nulliparous women delivering singleton, vertex, live births at 37 weeks of gestation or greater at a tertiary care institution (2014–2015). Patient clinical characteristics were analyzed by delivering physician gender. The primary outcomes were delivery mode and episiotomy. Secondary outcomes included major perineal laceration, postpartum hemorrhage, 5-minute Apgar score less than 7, cord umbilical artery pH less than 7.0, and neonatal intensive care unit admission. Univariable and hierarchical multivariable analyses including physician as a random effect were utilized for analyses.

RESULTS:

Of the 7,027 women who met inclusion criteria, 81.3% (n=5,716) were delivered by a female physician. Women delivered by female physicians were slightly younger than those delivered by male physicians and were more likely to be publicly insured (11.7% vs 7.1%, P<.001). Mode of delivery did not differ by physician gender; the cesarean delivery rate was 20.6% for male physicians and 20.5% for female physicians (P=.61). Although the episiotomy rate did differ by physician gender, with 5.9% of patients delivered by male physicians undergoing episiotomy compared with 3.6% of patients delivered by female physicians (P=.001), this finding did not persist in the multivariable model after accounting for potential confounders (adjusted odds ratio 0.87, 95% CI 0.49–1.56). There were no differences by physician gender regarding any of the examined secondary outcomes in univariable or multivariable analyses.

CONCLUSION:

Outcomes of nulliparous women undergoing a trial of labor did not differ by delivering physician gender.

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