Outcomes of physiological and active third stage labour care amongst women in New Zealand

  • Dixon L
  • Tracy S
  • Guilliland K
 et al. 
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Background: during the third stage of labour there are two approaches for care provision - active management or physiological (expectant) care. The aim of this research was to describe, analyse and compare the midwifery care pathway and outcomes provided to a selected cohort of New Zealand women during the third stage of labour between the years 2004 and 2008. These women received continuity of care from a midwife Lead Maternity Carer and gave birth in a variety of birth settings (home, primary, secondary and tertiary maternity units). Methods: retrospective aggregated clinical information was extracted from the New Zealand College of Midwives research database. Factors such as type of third stage labour care provided; estimated blood loss; rate of treatment (separate to prophylaxis) with a uterotonic; and placental condition were compared amongst women who had a spontaneous onset of labour and no further assistance during the labour and birth. The results were adjusted for age, ethnicity, parity, place of birth, length of labour and weight of the baby. Findings: the rates of physiological third stage care (expectant) and active management within the cohort were similar (48.1% vs. 51.9%). Women who had active management had a higher risk of a blood loss of more than 500. mL, the risk was 2.761 when a woman was actively managed (95% CI: 2.441-3.122) when compared to physiological management. Women giving birth at home and in a primary unit were more likely to have physiological management. A longer labour and higher parity increased the odds of having active management. Manual removal of the placenta was more likely with active management (0.7% active management - 0.2% physiological p

Author-supplied keywords

  • Active management of the third stage
  • Blood loss
  • Expectant (physiological) third stage
  • Postpartum haemorrhage

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  • Lesley Dixon

  • Sally K. Tracy

  • Karen Guilliland

  • Lynn Fletcher

  • Chris Hendry

  • Sally Pairman

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