Does the presence of a condition-specific obstetric protocol lead to detectable improvements in pregnancy outcomes?

Academic Article


  • Objective We sought to evaluate whether the presence of condition-specific obstetric protocols within a hospital was associated with better maternal and neonatal outcomes. Study Design This was a cohort study of a random sample of deliveries performed at 25 hospitals over 3 years. Condition-specific protocols were collected from all hospitals and categorized independently by 2 authors. Data on maternal and neonatal outcomes, as well as data necessary for risk adjustment were collected. Risk-adjusted outcomes were compared according to whether the patient delivered in a hospital with condition-specific obstetric protocols at the time of delivery. Results Hemorrhage-specific protocols were not associated with a lower rate of postpartum hemorrhage or with fewer cases of estimated blood loss >1000 mL. Similarly, in the presence of a shoulder dystocia protocol, there were no differences in the frequency of shoulder dystocia or number of shoulder dystocia maneuvers used. Conversely, preeclampsia-specific protocols were associated with fewer intensive care unit admissions (odds ratio, 0.28; 95% confidence interval, 0.18-0.44) and fewer cases of severe maternal hypertension (odds ratio, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.77-0.96). Conclusion The presence of condition-specific obstetric protocols was not consistently shown to be associated with improved risk-adjusted outcomes. Our study would suggest that the presence or absence of a protocol does not matter and regulations to require protocols are not fruitful.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bailit JL; Grobman WA; McGee P; Reddy UM; Wapner RJ; Varner MW; Thorp JM; Leveno KJ; Iams JD; Tita ATN
  • Start Page

  • 86.e1
  • End Page

  • 86.e6
  • Volume

  • 213
  • Issue

  • 1