New University of Minnesota research published in this month’s edition of the journal Medical Care is the first of its kind to show who is having early elective deliveries, and whether these deliveries happen following labor induction or cesarean.
The study, led by University of Minnesota School of Public Health assistant professor Dr. Katy Kozhimannil, reviewed data linking birth certificates with hospital records for all births in California, Missouri, and Pennsylvania between 1995 and 2009. The three states represent approximately 20 percent of all U.S. births and encompass a wide range of sociodemographic characteristics and geographic locations.
The chance of early elective induction was higher among women: 35 years of age or older, White with higher education levels; who were privately insured; who gave birth at rural or nonteaching hospitals. Early elective cesareans were more likely for women: less than 20 years old or over 35 years old; who were Black; who had higher education levels; who gave birth at smaller-volume hospitals.
The study found that infants born by early elective cesareans were 60 percent more likely to stay longer in the hospital and more than twice as likely to have respiratory distress compared to infants born on or after 39 weeks. Infants born via early elective induction were also more likely to stay in the hospital longer than expected.