Midwife-led care unit for 'low risk' pregnant women in a Japanese hospital

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2011 Aug;24(8):1046-50. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2010.545912. Epub 2011 Jan 13.


Objectives: To examine the obstetric outcomes of our 'low risk' pregnant women under the midwife-led delivery care compared with those under the obstetric shared care.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study compared outcomes of labor under midwife 'primary' care with those under obstetric shared care. The factors examined were: maternal age, parity, gestational age at delivery, length of labor, augmentation of labor pains, delivery mode, episiotomy, perineal laceration, postpartum hemorrhage, neonatal birth weight, Apgar score, and umbilical artery pH. In this study, pregnant women were initially considered 'low risk' at admission when they had no history of medical, gynecological, or obstetric problems and no complications during the present pregnancy.

Results: There were 1031 pregnant women initially considered 'low risk' at admission. At admission, 878 of them (85%) requested to give birth under midwife care; however 364 of these women (42%) were transferred to obstetric shared care during labor. The average length of labor under the midwife 'primary' care was significantly longer than that under the obstetric shared care. However, there were no significant differences in the rate of prolonged labor (≥24 h). There were no significant differences in other obstetric or neonatal outcomes between the two groups.

Conclusions: There was no evidence indicating that midwife 'primary' care is unsafe for 'low risk' pregnant women. Therefore, midwifery care is recommended for 'low risk' pregnant women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Maternity
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric*
  • Midwifery*
  • Patient Safety / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tokyo