UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Improving birth outcomes for women who are substance using or have mental illness: a Canadian cohort study comparing antenatal midwifery and physician models of care for women of low socioeconomic position McRae, Daphne N; Muhajarine, Nazeem; Janssen, Patricia A


Background: Some observational studies have shown improved birth outcomes for women of low socioeconomic position (SEP) receiving antenatal midwifery versus physician care. To understand for whom and under what circumstances midwifery care is associated with better birth outcomes we examined whether psychosocial risk including substance use, mental illness, social assistance, residence in a neighbourhood of low/moderate SEP, and teen maternal age modified the association between model of care (midwifery versus physician) and small-for-gestational-age (SGA) or preterm birth (PTB) for women of low SEP. Methods: For this retrospective cohort study, maternity data from the British Columbia Perinatal Data Registry were linked with Medical Services Plan billing data. We report adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for SGA birth (< the 10th percentile) and PTB (< 37 weeks’ completed gestation). For tests of interaction between antenatal models of care and psychosocial risk, p-values < 0.10 were considered statistically significant. Women were eligible for inclusion if they were residents of British Columbia, Canada, carried a singleton fetus, had low to moderate medical/obstetric risk, birthed between April 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2012, and received a health insurance subsidy (n = 33,937). Results: Midwifery versus obstetrician patients had lower odds of PTB. The difference was 31% larger among substance users (aOR 0.24, 95% CI: 0.11–0.54) compared to non-substance users (aOR 0.55, 95% CI: 0.45–0.68). Additionally, there was a 34% statistically significant absolute difference in odds of PTB for midwifery versus obstetrician patients with both mental illness and substance use (aOR 0.18, 95% CI: 0.06–0.55) compared to women with neither mental illness nor substance use (aOR 0.52, 95% CI: 0.41–.66). Results demonstrated a consistent association between midwifery versus physician care and lower odds of SGA, yet effects were not statistically significantly different for women with higher or lower psychosocial risk. Conclusion: Among low SEP women in British Columbia, Canada, antenatal midwifery compared to obstetrician care was associated with reduced odds of PTB. Odds were lower among women with substance use, and mental illness and substance use, than among women without these risk factors.

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