A Comparison of Obstetric Interventions and Outcomes Between Black and White Patients at an Urban Tertiary Medical Center

Reprod Sci. 2023 Jul;30(7):2313-2323. doi: 10.1007/s43032-023-01174-3. Epub 2023 Jan 30.


The objective of the study is to evaluate whether rates of selected labor and delivery interventions and severe maternal morbidity (SMM) differ between Black and White pregnant patients. This retrospective observational cohort study included all Black or White pregnant patients who delivered at the University of Chicago Medical Center between January 2015 and December 2019. Data queried included demographic information, antepartum complications, preterm interventions, labor and delivery events, and neonatal outcomes. SMM was a composite outcome, including intensive care unit admission, blood transfusion, hysterectomy, eclampsia, cardiac arrest, or death. In total, 10,885 parturients (9001 Black and 1884 White) and 11,211 neonates (9254 born to Black and 1957 to White patients) were included in the study. Black patients were more likely to have preterm labor (3.51% vs. 1.86%, p = 0.0002) and no prenatal care (17.83% vs. 4.05%, p < 0.0001). There was no significant difference in the administration of magnesium sulfate for fetal neuroprotection (Black 44.78% vs. White 49.32%, p = 0.48) or antenatal corticosteroids (Black 67.83% vs. White 71.98%, p = 0.28) among those with preterm delivery. There was no significant difference in SMM (Black 2.24% vs. White 2.44%, p = 0.60), and SMM rates decreased over time (OR 0.79 per year, 95% CI: 0.72-0.87, p < 0.0001) for all patients. Black patients had more pregnancy complications, but their complications were addressed with similar rates of obstetrical interventions. In a high-resource setting, there was no difference in rates of SMM when compared to White patients.

Keywords: Health equity; Maternal mortality; Racial disparities; Severe maternal morbidity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American
  • Cohort Studies
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature*
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • White People