Development of a maternity hospital classification for use in perinatal research

N S W Public Health Bull. Jan-Feb 2012;23(1-2):12-6. doi: 10.1071/NB11026.


We aimed to develop a maternity hospital classification, using stable and easily available criteria, that would have wide application in maternity services research and allow comparison across state, national and international jurisdictions. A classification with 13 obstetric groupings (12 hospital groups and home births) was based on neonatal care capability, urban and rural location, annual average number of births and public/private hospital status. In a case study of early elective birth we demonstrate that neonatal morbidity differs according to the maternity hospital classification, and also that the 13 groups can be collapsed in ways that are pragmatic from a clinical and policy decision-making perspective, and are manageable for analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Birth Rate
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Hospitals, Maternity / classification*
  • Hospitals, Private / classification
  • Hospitals, Public / classification
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Health Services*
  • Perinatal Care
  • Pregnancy