Does ethnicity influence obstetric intervention?

N Z Med J. 1995 Dec 8;108(1013):511-2.


Aims: To examine whether the high proportion of Polynesian women giving birth at Middlemore Hospital contributes to its low interventional delivery rate.

Methods: A study of a one-year cohort of women delivering at Middlemore Hospital. Delivery suite records were scrutinised to determine ethnicity and mode of delivery. Statistical comparisons were made.

Results: In Maori, Pacific Island and European women the caesarean section rates were 6.5%, 9.5% and 11.5% respectively. Maori women have a significantly lower rate of caesarean section than Pacific Island women and both groups have a significantly lower rate than European women. The spontaneous vaginal delivery rates in Maori, Pacific Island and European women were 89.0%, 87.4% and 74.8% respectively.

Conclusion: The high proportion New Zealand Maori and Pacific Island women contributes to, but does not fully explain, the low interventional delivery rate at Middlemore Hospital.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesia, Epidural / statistics & numerical data
  • Analgesia, Obstetrical / statistics & numerical data
  • Attitude to Health
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data
  • Ethnicity / psychology
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Europe / ethnology
  • Extraction, Obstetrical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander / psychology
  • New Zealand
  • Pacific Islands / ethnology
  • Pregnancy