Childbirth-Related Injuries Decline

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There were nearly 158,000 potentially avoidable childbirth-related injuries to women and their infants in 2006, a significant decline from 2000 …

… Between 2000 and 2006, the rate of potentially avoidable injuries during vaginal childbirth without the use of instruments, such as forceps, declined by 30%, according to the report. The injury rate declined by 21.3% for vaginal childbirth using instruments and by 16.7% for women undergoing caesarean sections.

… rates of injury were higher when instruments were used during childbirth. …trauma to the woman during vaginal delivery with the use of instruments occurred 160.5 times per 1,000 discharges, compared with 36.2 times when instruments were not used. The report said that the most common injuries to women were perineum tears, which are avoidable in many cases. Traumatic injury to infants during childbirth -- such as broken collarbones, head injuries and infections -- occurred 1.6 times per 1,000 discharges.

…. Women giving birth in high-income areas had 44% more injuries during vaginal delivery than their counterparts in low-income areas.

… The report found that women covered by Medicaid were less likely to be injured during childbirth -- 127 injuries per 1,000 deliveries -- compared with women with private insurance plans -- 185 injuries per 1,000 deliveries. However, the rate of injury for infants covered under Medicaid was higher -- 1.7 per 1,000 deliveries -- than those under private plans -- 1.5 per 1,000 deliveries.