Severe obstetric complications and birth characteristics in preterm or term delivery were accurately recalled by mothers

J Clin Epidemiol. 2006 Apr;59(4):429-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2005.08.010. Epub 2006 Jan 27.


Objective: This study examined the accuracy of maternal recall of obstetric complications and birth characteristics and its determinants for both preterm and term deliveries 3-9 years ago.

Methods: In 101 preterm and 107 term deliveries at the National Taiwan University Hospital during 1995-2000, recall data were obtained by telephone interview with the mothers and were matched with medical records.

Results: Among 10 obstetric complications assessed, the accuracy of maternal recall could either have high sensitivity and high specificity (Cesarean section, gestational hypertension, and induced labor), low to moderate sensitivity and high specificity (pre-eclampsia, breech, and cord loops), or low sensitivity and low specificity (ante partum vaginal bleeding, edema, and proteinuria). The correlations between maternal recall and medical records for birth weight (r = .95) and gestational age (r =.93) in the preterm group were slightly higher than those in the term group (r = .89 and .83, respectively). Factors associated with higher recall accuracy included preterm delivery, first birth order, and lower total parity, but no factor consistently related to maternal accuracy for all obstetric complications and birth characteristics.

Conclusion: The accuracy of maternal recall on obstetric complications varied depending on the nature of complications examined, whereas that on birth characteristics was high.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods
  • Delivery, Obstetric / psychology
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Mental Recall*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / psychology*
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects