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Cesarean Delivery Among Nulliparous Women in Beirut: Assessing Predictors in Nine Hospitals

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Background: Obstetric practice has witnessed a worldwide trend of increasing cesarean section rates in recent years. Similar trends have been observed in Lebanon, according to 2 studies conducted in 1996 and 1999. The objective of the present study was to assess the differences in predictors of cesarean delivery among nulliparous women in a “control hospital” with a low cesarean delivery rate (12.5%) and the rest of the National Collaborative Perinatal Neonatal Network (NCPNN) “study hospitals” with a higher cesarean delivery rate (31.4%). Methods: Data were collected by the NCPNN database, which covers deliveries at 9 major hospitals located in the Greater Beirut area. Data analysis was performed on the 6,668 consecutive deliveries occurring between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2002, at the NCPNN participating centers. The questionnaires included items that cover parental sociodemographic characteristics and maternal and newborn health characteristics. Sources of data included direct interviews with mothers after delivery and before hospital discharge and reviews of obstetric and nursery medical charts. Chi-square tests and t tests were performed for categorical and continuous clinical predictors of cesarean section. Logistic regression was performed to determine the odds of having a cesarean section for the study hospitals when compared with the control hospital. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals are reported. Results: Variables in the study hospitals that correlated with a higher cesarean delivery rate were male obstetricians, day of the week, and mode of payment compared with the control hospital. Conclusions: In a country with a high cesarean section rate, 1 hospital met World Health Organization criteria for acceptable cesarean section rates, with no compromise in neonatal outcome. Further studies are needed to investigate potential policies to decrease the high cesarean section rate. (BIRTH 34:1 March 2007)

Keywords: Beirut; cesarean delivery; nulliparous women; predictors

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Hala Tamim is at the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, Canada 2: Souheil Y. El-Chemaly and Afamia A. Kaddour are at the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon 3: Anwar H. Nassar is at the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon 4: Alia Aaraj is at the Department of Neonatal Services Rassoul Al-Azam Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon 5: Oona Campbell is at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom

Publication date: March 1, 2007


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