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Cost-effectiveness of planned birth in a birth centre compared with alternative planned places of birth: results of the Dutch Birth Centre study

11 Sep 2017

Objectives

To estimate the cost-effectiveness of a planned birth in a birth centre compared with alternative planned places of birth for low-risk women. In addition, a distinction has been made between different types of locations and integration profiles of birth centres.

Design

Economic evaluation based on a prospective cohort study.

Setting

21 Dutch birth centres, 46 hospital locations where midwife-led birth was possible and 110 midwifery practices where home birth was possible.

Participants

3455 low-risk women under the care of a community midwife at the start of labour in the Netherlands within the study period 1 July 2013 to 31 December 2013.

Main outcome measures

Costs and health outcomes of birth for different planned places of birth. Healthcare costs were measured from start of labour until 7 days after birth. The health outcomes were assessed by the Optimality Index-NL2015 (OI) and a composite adverse outcomes score.

Results

The total adjusted mean costs for births planned in a birth centre, in a hospital and at home under the care of a community midwife were 3327, 3330 and 2998, respectively. There was no difference between the score on the OI for women who planned to give birth in a birth centre and that of women who planned to give birth in a hospital. Women who planned to give birth at home had better outcomes on the OI (higher score on the OI).

Conclusions

We found no differences in costs and health outcomes for low-risk women under the care of a community midwife with a planned birth in a birth centre and in a hospital. For nulliparous and multiparous low-risk women, planned birth at home was the most cost-effective option compared with planned birth in a birth centre.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open